Multiple sources in the government and the BJP have rubbished the talk of Yogi Adityanath’s removal as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, telling News18 that these are “baseless rumours" and said the party is sure of a win in UP in 2022 under his leadership.
The CM spent two days in Delhi, meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda and President Ram Nath Kovind, raising a lot of speculations, after senior BJP leaders had visited Lucknow for closed-door meetings with many ministers.
“The prime minister holds Yogi Adityanath in high regard. His governance model is excellent and he has a clean image. There is no question of him being changed. The UP CM was last in Delhi on a two-day visit on January 6-7. Then also he met the President, the PM and Amit Shah. He plans his trips like that," a top government source said.
A BJP source further said speculations should end after Yogi’s Delhi visit with all top leaders reposing faith in him and detailed meetings held regarding BJP’s strategy going into the UP elections early next year. The party feels it can win the state again in 2022 under Yogi’s leadership — something that BJP has never succeeded to do in the northern state.
“The CM has returned to Lucknow even more stronger. There are some vacant spots in the state cabinet and the CM will exercise his prerogative of filling those berths keeping in mind the regional and caste equations. Some re-jig in boards and corporations is also possible," an aide of the CM in the state capital told News18 on the phone.
The PM could in fact visit UP soon, in a boost to Yogi, to inaugurate the Purvanchal Expressway from Lucknow to Ballia and also lay the foundation stone of the Jewar International Airport in Noida. The CM has been advised to line up more development projects that can be rolled out before the elections, further increase the speed of central schemes in the state as well as bump up the pace of Covid-19 vaccination in UP, sources in the Centre said.
A source said the CM has put forward his case strongly before the party leadership over his management of the Covid situation in the state, terming it a successful model. The PM in fact praised UP’s Covid management under Yogi Adityanath during their meeting on Friday, which is politically significant after the opposition targeted the CM over images of dead bodies flowing in the Ganga and scores of bodies buried on the river-beds.
A top government source in this context also pointed to PM’s praise of Yogi Adityanath on May 21 while speaking to doctors and frontline workers in Varanasi.
“When efforts are genuine and leaders understand people’s problems, the work done on the ground shows. I remember how thousands of encephalitis deaths happened earlier in West UP and Yogi Adityanath as MP even cried in Parliament over the issue. But once he became CM of UP, he started a campaign and succeeded in a big way in saving the lives of children," the prime minister said on May 21.
Amidst speculations about tensions due to non-accomodation of former PMO bureaucrat AK Sharma in a senior position in the state cabinet, sources in Lucknow said no such demand had been made by the Centre so far.
“Sharma was made an MLC. All positions from UP — be it Rajya Sabha nominations or senior positions in the UP Cabinet — there has never been any conflict between the views of the Centre and the UP government," sources said.
UP cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh on Friday, in fact, reacted sharply to reports that Yogi had told the RSS that it is better if he resigns in case his key portfolios are given away to others. “Such reports are hawa hawai, have no basis and are far from the truth," Singh said, terming a report about bifurcation of the state as false too.
The meetings of key allies Apna Dal and Nishad Party with Amit Shah seem an exercise of understanding their expectations from the NDA alliance in UP elections with MPs Anupriya Patel and Pravin Nishad making a case for their inclusion in the Union cabinet.