Less than half in Team Yogi are old-time BJP workers

In the careful balancing of caste and regional representation in the Yogi Adityanath government, the scales have tilted against long-time BJP leaders. From over 70 per cent representation in the 2017 Adityanath Cabinet, BJP cadre strength has dropped to less than half in the new one.

Many who have got Cabinet berths joined the BJP following the Modi wave win of 2014, including several who joined recently.

Team Yogi 2.0 took oath Friday with 53 members, including the CM, his Deputies Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brijesh Pathak, 16 Cabinet ministers, 14 Ministers of State (Independent Charge) and 20 Ministers of State. In 2017, he had a smaller team, of 46, but a much higher number of Cabinet ministers (22).

Among the 16 Cabinet ministers now, seven – Surya Pratap Shahi, Suresh Kumar Khanna, Swatantra Dev Singh, Baby Rani Maurya, Dharmpal Singh, Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary and Yogendra Upadhyaya – are long-time BJP workers, having been with the party or Sangh Parivar since the 1980s and 1990s.

In 2017, as many as 16 of the 22 Cabinet ministers fell in this category.

Of the remaining 9 Cabinet ministers in the new Adityanath government, two – Ashish Patel (Apna Dal) and Sanjay Nishad (NISHAD Party) – are members of BJP alliance partners; while seven others – Chaudhary Laxmi Narayan, Jaivir Singh, Jitin Prasada, Rakesh Sachan, Nand Gopal Gupta ‘Nandi’, Arvind Kumar Sharma and Anil Rajbhar – joined the BJP post 2015. Two of them (Prasada and Sachan) joined in the last one year.

Again, while in the last tenure of the Yogi government, both the Deputy CMs were long-time BJP leaders, Brijesh Pathak, named as Deputy CM this time, moved from the BSP to the BJP only in 2017. Pathak incidentally had criticised the Adityanath government’s handling of Covid-19, and had even written letters to the state government on the matter.

Among the new ministers who have been in the BJP only since 2015, at least three were part of the BSP government led by Mayawati (2007-2012). They include Jaivir Singh, Nand Gopal Gupta, and Laxmi Narayan, who has also been in the Lok Dal, Congress and Loktantrik Congress Party, and served earlier in BJP-led governments.

Some of the seven non-BJP cadre inducted as ministers were also part of the Adityanath government last time.

Cabinet ministers with long BJP background who were dropped this time were Siddharth Nath Singh, Shrikant Sharma and Ashutosh Tandon.

A UP BJP leader admitted there were several factors at play. “The composition of the Council of Ministers has kept in mind caste, social and regional balance.”

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