Yogi Adityanath Expands Cabinet Ahead Of UP Assembly Election

Yogi Adityanath Expands Cabinet Ahead Of UP Assembly Election


 Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expanded his cabinet Sunday evening, with former Congress leader Jitin Prasada the most high-profile new face in the ruling BJP administration.The expansion comes months before Assembly polls in the politically key state, and the newly inducted members have been chosen with that poll math in mind.

Mr Prasada was a close associate of Rahul Gandhi, and the party's top Brahmin face in UP, before he swapped parties in June.

Brahmins make up about 13 per cent of UP's voters and are an influential chunk that has steadily gravitated from the Congress towards the BJP over the years.

The BJP will hope his image can reset the optics of Yogi Adityanath's government, which is seen by some sections of the Brahmin community as being pro-Thakur (the Chief Minister's caste).

In July last year, Mr Prasada launched a "Brahmin Chetna Parishad" but it had little impact.

Other new faces are Chatrapal Gangwar - the MLA from Bahedi in Bareilly, Dharamveer Prajapati - who is an MLC from western UP's Agra, and Dr Sangeeta Balwant Bind - a first-time MLA from Ghazipur Sadar. All three are from OBC communities.

"Whatever time is there we will work... the BJP wants to take all communities with it (a reference to the party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'sabka saath, sabka vikas' slogan)... there is no harm in furthering the interests of all communities," Dr Bind said.Also inducted were Hastinapur MLA Dinesh Khateek, Sanjiv Kumar (also known as Sanjay Gond) - a first-time MLA from Obra in eastern UP's Sonbhadra, and Paltu Ram - a first-time MLA from Balrampur Sadar who has been in politics for close to two decades and was earlier with the BSP.Dinesh Khateek and Paltu Ram are from a Scheduled Caste. Sanjiv Kumar is from a Scheduled Tribe."I have worked in the BJP for a long time and we will follow the policy of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'. Dalits have voted for the BJP en masse and this trend is going to continue," Mr Khateek said.All newly inducted ministers will, however, only have three months in office before the Model Code of Conduct kicks in - a point Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav made when he tweeted.A former Chief Minister, Mr Yadav called the inductions a "hoax", and accused the BJP of paying lip service to marginalised communities by including them in the cabinet just before the election."The cabinet expansion of the BJP government of UP is a hoax. 

Today a drama is being created to represent those who (did not) 

get their due for four-and-a-half years. Before the ink on their nameplates (at their new offices) dries, the Model Code of Conduct will kick in," his tweet read.

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