UP gets the lion’s share in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet with total number of ministers including the PM reaching to 15 after three new faces were inducted in the cabinet on Tuesday.
Inducted with an eye on UP polls, caste balance looked top on criteria with Mirzapur MP from Apna Dal, the alliance partner of the BJP in UP, being inducted into the ministry. The move is being seen as a bid to appease Kurmi voters, which have large presence in eastern UP reagion.
The move has been necessitated after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar setting his eyes on UP assembly election holding three rallies until now. Nitish himself a Kurmi by caste is targeting members from the community in the run up to UP polls.
Anupriya, who inherited the legacy of her father Sonelal Patel, a prominent kurmi leader in the state, won the Mirzapur Lok Sabha seat riding on Kurmi support.
Before becoming MP in 2014, she was Apna Dal MLA from Rohaniya in Varanasi.
In a bid to woo Dalit votes, the BJP gave ministerial berth to Shahjahanpur MP Krishna Raj, a pasi by caste. Interestingly, Pasi are the second largest caste among the Dalits after Jatavs, who have remained loyal to BSP chief Mayawati for the past around a decade.
Induction of Krishna Raj is being seen as the BJP’s move to counter Mayawati’s BSP surge in the UP polls.
However, not forgetting that making such moves might annoy upper caste voters especially Brahmins, the BJP also inducted Chandauli MP Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey in the Modi cabinet.
Other than three new faces, Narenda Modi who is an MP from Varanasi is Prime Minster followed by Rajnath Singh as Home Minister and MP from Lucknow. Manohar Parrikar who is the Defence Minister is also Rajya Sabha MP from UP. Other ministers from UP include Kalraj Misra, Deoria MP, Uma Bharti, Jhansi MP, Sanjeev Baliyan, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Manoj Sinha, Gen VK Singh, Maneka Gandhi, Dr Mahesh Sharma and Santosh Gangwar.
Junior HRD Minister Prof Ramshanker Katheria, who is also from UP, has faced the axe in Tuesday’s rejig while Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who until a month back was Rajya Sabha MP from UP is now Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand.