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Four UP Parishad seats, five contenders:One who exits ministry may get key party role

Though five ministers need to be elected to the UP legislature before September 19, when the Yogi government completes six months in office, election has been announced for only four upper house seats.

lucknow Updated: Aug 26, 2017 17:42 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UP legislature,UP Parishad,Chief minister Yogi Adityanath

With chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his two deputies Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma likely to be certainties for three of the four Vidhan Parishad seats slated to go to poll on September 15, minister of state for transport Swatantra Dev Singh and the Yogi government’s only Muslim face Mohsin Raza seem to be in the race for the remaining seat.

Though five ministers need to be elected to the UP legislature before September 19, when the Yogi government completes six months in office, election has been announced for only four upper house seats.

The axe is bound to fall on one of the five ministers though there are 13 vacancies in the Yogi Adityanath ministry.

There have been reports that the party leadership may like to shift minister of state (independent charge) Swatantradev Singh, a backward class organisational hand who belongs to the drought-prone Bundelkhand region, to an important position in the party. The move may be aimed at stepping up preparations for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Minister of state for science and technology, Waqf and Haj Mohsin Raza’s strongest point is that he is the only Muslim face of the Yogi government. If the Yogi government pushes the BJP’s Hindutva agenda further in the coming days, the leadership may not like to see his exit.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, during his visit to the state capital last month, had categorically said Yogi and Maurya (both Lok Sabha MPs) will stay in Lucknow.

Deputy chief minister Sharma has been a close confidant of the party bosses.

The BJP leadership is likely to take a final call before closing of nominations on September 5.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, a five-term MP from Gorakhpur, has been a popular Hindutva leader. He is considered capable of ensuring his nominee’s election from the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat in the by-poll to be held once he resigns from Parliament.

Though there have been reports of discontent in BJP ranks against his government, the BJP leadership is likely to back him and may allow him a free hand in the coming days as the chief minister is yet to complete six months in office and needs time to show results.

Maurya’s continuation as deputy chief minister will also mean his quitting the Phoolpur Lok Sabha seat. The BJP leadership needs a clear strategy to ensure victory in the by-poll there amid speculation that once the seata is vacated, BSP chief Mayawati may get an opportunity to reach the Lok Sabha as a joint opposition candidate.

Read more| UP Legislative council polls: Four seats, five contenders!

Alternatively, Maurya may be accommodated in the union ministry or be allowed to continue as the state BJP president, giving up his ministerial role under the party’s ‘one man, one post’ policy. But Shah’s assertion to the contrary make this only a distant possibility.

A former Lucknow mayor, Sharma was elevated to deputy chief minister’s post for his proximity to top party bosses. As BJP vice president and organisational incharge for Gujarat, Sharma has been in close touch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and consistently sends a report (about whatever he does) to the PMO. His contribution in formulation of the Yogi government’s key policies, including policy for transfer of teachers, has evoked a good response. His work indicates his continuation for now.

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 17:42 IST