Lucknow: Amid speculation over the cabinet expansion of the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, the first ministerial reshuffle will finally take place on Wednesday. An invitation from Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel was sent out in this regard, and new ministers are expected to be sworn in at the Raj Bhawan in Lucknow at 11am on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, two members of the Cabinet — Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal and Minister of State for Primary Education Anupama Jaiswal — tendered their resignations on Tuesday. Earlier, newly elected BJP state president Swatantra Dev Singh had also resigned as transport minister, as per the ‘one-man-one-post’ rule prevalent in the BJP.
An important meeting of leaders of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also took place in Lucknow earlier on Tuesday evening and it was expected that names of new ministers would be finalised therw. However, with no official list released, names of Ashok Kataria, Vidyasagar Sonkar, Udaybhan Singh, Kapil Dev Agrawal, Vijay Bahadur Pathak, Anil Sharma, Pankaj Singh, Sanjiv Raja, Nilima Katiyar, Dal Bahadur Kori, Ashish Patel, Mahendra Singh, Suresh Rana, Anil Rajbhar, Bukkal Nawab and Upendra Tiwari started doing the rounds.
Another lawmaker who might feature in the list is Member of Legislative Council Ashish Patel, who is the husband of Apna Dal (Sonelal) chief and former Union minister Anupriya Patel. About a dozen new faces could be inducted into the UP cabinet in its first expansion.
There are currently 43 ministers, including Adityanath, two deputy chief ministers — Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma — nine ministers of state with independent charge, and 13 ministers of state.
Three ministers — Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Allahabad, SP Singh Baghel from Agra, and Satyadev Pachauri from Kanpur — were elected to the Lok Sabha, while Suheldeo Bharatiya Samaj Party president Om Prakash Rajbhar was recently removed from the cabinet.
Meanwhile, former chief minister and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav hit out at the government's latest move and said it was aimed at diverting people's attention from its failures. "The BJP government has failed on every front and now it wants to runaway from its responsibilities by transferring officers. On the other hand, the BJP wants to divert people's attention by the cabinet expansion. People are simply fed up of this diversion politics by the BJP," he wrote in a series of tweets.
हर मोर्चे पर असफल होती प्रदेश की भाजपा सरकार अपनी नाकामी से ध्यान हटाने के लिए एक तरफ़ अधिकारियों के ट्रांसफ़र कर अपनी ज़िम्मेदारी से पल्ला झाड़ लेना चाहती है, तो दूसरी तरफ़ कैबिनेट का विस्तार कर जनता का ध्यान बाँटना चाहती है. भाजपा की गुमराह करने वाली राजनीति से जनता त्रस्त है— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) August 20, 2019
एक तरफ़ लोगों का धंधा-पानी चौपट हो गया है और उस पर बिजली, पेट्रोल, डीज़ल के बढ़े दामों ने महँगाई से यूपी की जनता की कमर तोड़ दी है. चुनाव जीतने के बाद मतलबी सरकार अपनी मनमानी से जनता से अधिक-से-अधिक वसूल लेना चाहती है. भाजपा के राज में जनता ख़ुद को प्रताड़ित महसूस कर रही है.— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) August 20, 2019