In Yogi Cabinet 2.0, newcomers get important portfolios

New faces, most of who joined the BJP recently, have been given important portfolios in the second term of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh.

The portfolio allocation has surprised many BJP leaders who feel that the leadership has shown “trust” in new faces instead of old party hands.

“More than a newcomer, it hurts to see that turncoats have been given significance and prominence over the old cadre leaders. While it is being told that the performance would be rewarded and these leaders were being given a chance to show their mettle, many feel that loyalty should also be a point for consideration,” a senior party leader said.

Party sources said the idea behind giving important portfolios to new faces was to send a message that no post or recognition is permanent and therefore performance would be considered the top priority.

Deputy CM Brajesh Pathak at Vidhan Bhavan, on Tuesday. (PTI)

While Keshav Prasad Maurya, who lost in the Assembly polls from Sirathu, has been retained as deputy chief minister, he has not been given the significant Public Works Department (PWD) that he held in the last Cabinet. Instead, the PWD portfolio has gone to Jitin Prasada, who quit the Congress to join the BJP ahead of the polls. Prasada was a minister in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

In contrast, Maurya’s colleague — Brajesh Pathak — who has been elevated to the Deputy CM’s post has been allotted four significant departments – Medical and Health, Family Welfare, Maternal and Child Welfare as well as Medical Education.

The ministries related to health has gained significance post the Covid pandemic. Interestingly, during the pandemic, Pathak was among a few BJP leaders and ministers, who had questioned his own government about the Covid preparedness.

Another ministry that has gained prominence following the pandemic is urban employment and poverty alleviation, which has been given to another newcomer AK Sharma. With experience in handling infrastructure projects as an IAS officer, the former Gujarat-cadre officer is expected to not just bring his expertise but also act as a link between the Centre and the state as these ministries require coordination for central funds.

Also, the significant MSME Ministry has been given to Rakesh Sachan, who joined the BJP just before the polls. Sachan has previously been with the Samajwadi Party and Congress. In the first term of the Adityanath government, the MSME Ministry was with Sidharth Nath Singh, who has been dropped this time. Sachan has also been allotted Khadi, handloom and textile departments.

Another BJP leader, considered a “non-cadre” – Nand Gopal Nandi, has been given Infrastructure and Industrial Development Department, Export promotion, Investment promotion as well as NRI Ministry. The portfolio was earlier with senior party leader Satish Mahana in the previous Cabinet.

Jaiveer Singh, also considered a “non-cadre” party leader, has been given the much significant Tourism and Culture Department, which has a significant responsibility to speed up projects, especially in the development of infrastructure around religious towns of Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi and Prayagraj.

Similarly among MoS (Independent charge), the highest revenue generating ministry — Excise & Prohibition — has been given to former SP leader Nitin Agrawal, who later joined BJP.

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