Modi’s cabinet expansion has eyes set on UP polls

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Of the seven ministers from the state inducted into the cabinet on Wednesday, six are non-upper castes, reports Asian Lite News

The cabinet expansion of the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday has set the roadmap for the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh next year.

The selection of names inducted in the Union Cabinet from Uttar Pradesh, clearly indicates the priorities of the BJP for the UP elections.

Of the seven ministers from the state inducted into the cabinet on Wednesday, six are non-upper castes.

Four of the newly-inducted ministers belong to various OBC caste groups.

Anupriya Patel and Pankaj Chaudhary are from the Kurmi caste, while B.L. Varma is from the Lodh community and S.P. Singh Baghel is an OBC (Gadaria) but claims to be a scheduled caste. His case on this issue is sub judice.

Bhanu Pratap Verma is a Dalit and Kaushal Kishore is also a Dalit (Pasi community).

The lone upper caste is Ajay Mishra, a Brahmin.

Interestingly, the BJP has carefully chosen to opt for only non-Yadav OBCs which means that the ruling party is intentionally trying to break the OBC unity and damage the Samajwadi Party.

The cabinet expansion also makes it abundantly clear that the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, will now focus on OBCs and Dalits who from the largest chunk of voters.

“There was no need to focus on upper castes since we have a Chief Minister who belongs to the Thakur community and a Deputy Chief Minister who is from the Brahmin community. The party wants to send a clear message that it seeks participation in power of sections of society that have not got their due,” said a party functionary.

Punjab, Gujarat and Himachal in rejig

Similarly, two ministers from Gujarat (Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala) and one from Himachal Pradesh (Anurag Singh Thakur), were elevated. New MoS Chouhan Devusinh, is also an MP from Gujarat’s Kheda Both these states, which are ruled by the BJP now, are poll-bound in the second half of calendar 2022.

Maghubai Chhaghanbhai Patel, a tribal leader of the BJP from Gujarat, was appointed Governor on Tuesday. Darshana Vikram Jardosh, the MP from Surat, a stronghold of the BJP, and worked hard to retain the party dominance following protests from trader community against the GST implementation in 2017 state polls – has also been inducted as an MoS now.

Punjab, a state which is also set to see elections early next year, did not get any additional representation, but Hardeep Singh Puri, a Minister of State, belongs to Sikh community was upgraded to Cabinet rank. Puri, however, is a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh

If Uttarakhand’s Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank lost his Cabinet post, a Brahmin leader from the state, Ajay Bhatt, has now been inducted as a Minister of State. Manipur, another poll bound state also got representation in the revamped Council with the induction of Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, as an MoS. While Andhra Pradesh, one of the two southern states the BJP leadership is keen to expand the party’s presence, has been given a representation in Tuesday’s gubernatorial appointments.

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