Yogi Adityanath's 47-Member Cabinet In UP Seeks To Strike Regional And Caste Balance

Yogi Adityanath's 47-Member Cabinet In UP Seeks To Strike Regional And Caste Balance

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath with his deputies Keshav Maurya (left) and Dinesh Sharma.

Lucknow:  Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was administered the oath of office and secrecy, on Sunday, along with his deputies Keshav Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, 22 ministers, 13 ministers of state and nine ministers of state with independent charge. The BJP, which won 312 of the 403 seats in the state, has sought to strike a regional and caste balance in its 47-member Cabinet. According to senior party leaders, this has been done keeping the 2019 general elections in mind.

Regionally, at least 17 ministers belong to eastern Uttar Pradesh, including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The 44-year-old priest, who is a five-time Lok Sabha member from Gorakhpur, enjoys massive influence in the region which also includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency of Varanasi.

Twelve ministers are from the western region whereas there are 11 cabinet members from central Uttar Pradesh. The under-developed region of Bundelkhand will be represented in the ministry by Swatantra Dev Singh and Mannu Kori. Five ministers, including Dinesh Sharma, are from the capital city of Lucknow.

Of the 47 ministers in the state, 26 hail from upper castes, three ministers are Dalits and the rest belong to Backward Classes. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is a Rajput whereas Keshav Prasad Maurya is a leader from the backward caste. Dinesh Sharma is a Brahmin.

The BJP, which did not field any Muslim candidate in UP, has appointed former cricketer Mohsin Raza as a minister of state. The government has also featured a Sikh face in Baldev Olakh, who won from Bilaspur.

The BJP has also appointed four of its 32 female legislators as ministers. These include Swati Singh, Gulabo Devi, Archana Pandey and former UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi.

Ms Joshi is also among the five political turncoats who have been given ministerial berths in the state.

Interestingly, many ministers - including Mr Adityanath and his two deputies - are not members of the UP legislature. Mr Adityanath and Mr Maurya are Lok Sabha MPs whereas Dinesh Sharma is the mayor of Lucknow. They will have to become members of either the UP legislative assembly or the legislative council within six months to continue as ministers.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, party patriarchs LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi and other senior leaders. Samajwadi Party leaders and former chief ministers Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh also attended the ceremony, held at the Kanshiram Smriti Upvan in Lucknow.

(with inputs from Agencies)

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