UP: Big names of last Cabinet dropped

Some prominent leaders, who were part of the previous Yogi Adityanath government, did not find a place in the new Cabinet this time.

The 10 big leaders, who got elected this time and represent different castes and communities, were dropped by the party leadership as they lacked connect with people, performed poorly as ministers and showed a lack of interest in organisational activities, sources in the BJP said.

Among the top names in the list of dropped ministers is Dinesh Sharma, who was deputy chief minister in the previous government and the Brahmin face of the party. He did not contest the election this time.
Former Lucknow mayor, Sharma has been replaced with another Brahmin leader Brajesh Pathak, who has been elected from the Lucknow Cantonment seat.

“May the double-engine government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath continue to work for the people of the state… I will continue to work for the party and strengthen it. As a party worker, I will work to ensure that the BJP emerges victorious in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections,” Sharma was quoted as saying by the PTI on Friday.

A senior party leader said that Sharma may be elevated to Vidhan Parishad chairman.

Shrikant Sharma, who was elected MLA from Mathura for the second consecutive term, has also been dropped from the cabinet. He was the spokesperson of the government in the previous term and once held the post of party national secretary and national media in charge.

Sidharth Nath Singh, who was minister of MSME, Khadi and export in the previous government could not get a place in the new cabinet. He got elected from Allahabad West for the second consecutive term.

While the Adityanath government claimed that its Covid-19 management during the second wave of the pandemic was best in the country, the party has dropped Jai Pratap Singh who was medical and health minister in the previous term. Singh, an eight-term MLA from Bansi in Siddharthnagar, is Kshatriya by caste and belongs to the princely state of Bansi.

The BJP also dropped Ashutosh Tandon “Gopal” who was a cabinet minister for urban development in the previous government. The son of late senior leader Lalji Tandon, Ashutosh represents Lucknow East constituency. A party leader said that Tandon as minister failed to make any significant mark.

Mankapur MLA Ramapati Shastri, who was the social welfare minister in the previous cabinet has also been dropped. One of the senior MLAs, Shastri was a minister in the BJP government of Rajnath Singh and Kalyan Singh. Considering his seniority, Governor Anandiben Patel appointed him pro-tem Speaker for the new Assembly.

Another big name missing from the new cabinet is Satish Mahana. The eight-term MLA was the industry development minister in the previous Cabinet. The government had claimed that the state drew a huge investment in his leadership in the past five years. BJP sources said that Mahana’s name is under consideration for the post of Speaker this time.

A surprising omission is Neelkanth Tiwari, who got re-elected from the Varanasi South Assembly segment in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency. “There was strong anti-incumbency against Tiwari in his constituency. The BJP organization as well as RSS had to work hard on the ground to win the seat. He had lost connect with people,” said a BJP leader.

The newly developed Kashi Vishwanath Dham corridor falls in his constituency and Tiwari was Brahmin face of the party in Varanasi. In place of Tiwari, BJP has inducted Dayashankar Mishra Dayalu in the new Cabinet.

The BJP also dropped its lone Muslim minister of the previous cabinet— Mohsin Raza who was minister of state for minority welfare, waqf and Haj. The former cricketer was earlier BJP state spokesperson and represented the party on the issues of minorities. Sources in the party said that he has been dropped as there were complaints against him.

Member of the Legislative Council Mahendra Singh, who was Jal Shakti minister in the previous government, has also not been re-inducted. A Thakur by caste, Singh is considered close to Defence Minister and Lucknow MP Rajnath Singh.

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