Speculation rife over induction of new faces in Yogi cabinet

With Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath dashing to Delhi after declaration of the UP Assembly election results, the process of cabinet formation and speculations over the new faces to be inducted have begun.

Yogi was in Delhi on Sunday and he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president JP Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah, party’s national general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Yogi was accompanied by BJP state president Swatantra Dev Singh, and state in-charge Sunil Bansal.

Ten ministers, including Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, lost elections this time. Sources said Baby Rani Maurya, the prominent Jatav leader elected from Agra who is also the former Governor of Uttarakhand, is most likely to be given some important responsibility.

As per the grapevine in the corridors of power, the BJP leadership has prepared a basic list of probable deputy chief ministers and ministers on the basis of qualification, caste and regional balance. The aim is to ensure representation of every social group with focus on the non-dominant OBC castes.  The BJP central leadership will have the final say on the list.

For the post of deputy CM, there are speculations regarding Swatantra Dev Singh, Baby Rani Maurya, Brajesh Pathak and Keshav Prasad Maurya. Swatantra Dev Singh, who was the minister of state for transport in the previous Yogi government, is a senior leader from the Kurmi community.

Keshav Prasad Maurya lost from Sirathu seat this time, but he is the face of non-dominant OBCs.  Baby Rani Maurya has been the Governor of Uttarakhand and is a well-known face of Jatavs, while Brajesh Pathak, a Brahmin, was the law minister in the previous government.

The leadership is also considering the inclusion of two former police officers (Rajeshwar Singh and Asim Arun) in the new cabinet. The newly-elected MLA from the Sarojininagar seat of Lucknow, Rajeshwar Singh, was an officer of UP Police. BJP MLA Aseem Arun, who won from Kannauj, was an IPS officer of the ADG rank.

Many BJP Legislators have won by a huge margin. Candidate from Noida and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh won by a margin of 1,81,513 votes.

Shalabh Mani Tripathi, a young Brahmin face considered to be close to Yogi, may also be inducted in the new Yogi cabinet. Allies Apna Dal and Nishad Party are also likely to get a place in the cabinet while MLC Ashish Patel and Sanjay Nishad may get important cabinet berths.

Besides the new faces, old leaders like Suresh Khanna, who won with a landslide victory from Shahjahanpur for the ninth consecutive time, may also be made a minister.

The swearing-in ceremony of the Yogi government is likely to be held after Holi. Yogi had on Friday tendered his resignation to Governor Anandiben Patel at Raj Bhavan in Lucknow.