Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday expanded his council of ministers with 23 ministers, who took oath at the Raj Bhavan. Four ministers of state with independent charge were promoted as cabinet ministers, while two new faces, Ram Naresh Agnihotri and Kamla Rani Varun, joined as cabinet ministers.
The latest move is being seen as an attempt to further consolidate grass-root politics in the state ahead of 2022 assembly polls.
The names of Apna Dal(Sone Lal) chief Anupriya Patel's husband, Ashish Patel, and Rajnath Singh's son, Noida MLA Panjak Singh, were, however, missing from the list of newly-sworn ministers. The ministers who took oath as Cabinet ministers in the presence of UP Governor Anandiben Patel and the Chief Minister also included Mahendra Singh, Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary and Anil Rajbhar.
Anil Rajbhar, in particular, is being held up as the leader of the Rajbhar community following the sacking of Om Prakash Rajbhar, who has remained critical of Adityanath's administration.
Neelkant Tiwari, Kapildev Agarwal, Satish Dwivedi, Ashok Kataria, Shri Ram Chauhan, and Ravindra Jaiswal were given the portfolio of MoS (independent charge).
Meanwhile, Anil Sharma, Mahesh Gupta, Anand Swarup Shukla, Vijay Kashyap, Giriraj Singh Dharmesh, Lakhan Singh Rajpoot, Neelima Katiyar, Chaudhary Udaybhan Singh, Chandrika Prasad Upadhyay, Ramashankar Singh Patel and Ajeet Singh Pal took oath as MoS.
Ahead of the swearing-in, Rajesh Agarwal, Anupama Jaiswal, Dharam Pal Singh and Archana Pandey tendered their resignations on Tuesday evening.
The UP government currently consists of 43 ministers, including CM Adityanath, two deputy chief ministers — Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma — nine ministers of state with independent charge, and 13 ministers of state.
Slamming the move, former CM and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav claimed that the UP government is only trying to divert people's attention. "The BJP government has failed on every front and now wants to run away from its responsibilities by transferring its officers. It is only trying to divert people's attention through this cabinet expansion. People are simply fed up of this diversion politics by the BJP," he wrote in a series of tweets.