The BJP has ruled out the possibility of a change in leadership in Uttar Pradesh and dismissed reports that Yogi Adityanath’s government is in jeopardy over its handling of the Covid-19 situation, but the cabinet could still witness changes in the year leading up to the UP elections. Former bureaucrat AK Sharma, who is believed to be one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s close advisers, may be given a key post in the UP government, NDTV reported.
Gujarat cadre IAS officer A K Sharma joined the BJP in January this year after taking voluntary retirement from the service. Sharma, a 1988 batch officer from Mau district in Uttar Pradesh, is considered close to PM Modi and had worked with him in Gujarat. Sharma joined the party in the presence of state BJP president Swatantra Dev Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Dr Dinesh Sharma at the party headquarters in Lucknow.
On Tuesday night BL Santhosh, the BJP’s National General Secretary (Organisation), praised the CM’s “effective management” of the Covid-19 situation in a tweet, putting an end to all rumours about change of leadership in the state. The BJP’s UP in-charge, Radha Mohan Singh, in fact termed such a theory a “figment of someone’s imagination”. Both of them spent the last two days in Lucknow and took part in closed-door meetings. All pointers indicate towards Adityanath continuing to enjoy the full backing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
The assessment at the Centre is that Adityanath is the party’s best bet in UP, as he remains hugely popular because of his governance model, hard work on the ground and clean image — which have earned him the trust of the top BJP leadership.
But some key changes both in the party unit and the UP Cabinet are on the cards. “A cabinet reshuffle has been pending and some fresh inductions could happen to balance out caste equations further, while some ministers may be brought into the organisation to strengthen the party before the UP polls,” a minister in the UP government told News18. The visit by Santhosh is also said to have given an opportunity to state BJP leaders to vent out their grievances to him and speak freely of the challenges before the party ahead of the 2022 state elections. But no more should be read into it as everyone knows Adityanath remains the unchallenged leader, he said.