Tussle for portfolios in UP: who will get the much coveted Home Ministry?
Three days after being sworn in as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath is yet to distribute portfolios to his 43 ministers, including the two deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma. The delay reportedly is because Maurya wants the Home portfolio, which the CM wants for himself.
Sharma also seems to be a contender for the portfolio, or so it seems from his recent instructions that a magistrate must accompany a police team to check “roadside Romeos” and to stop policemen from taking bribes from trucks and other commercial vehicles.
To come to a verdict, Maurya reportedly insisted Adityanath go to Delhi on 21 March for the ostensible reason of attending the Lok Sabha but also to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah. The distribution of portfolios is expected to take place on 22 March.
Considering the fact that a large part of the BJP’s election campaign in the sate was centred on the “scary” crime situation, whoever gets to take charge of the Home ministry will have a lot of work on their hands and be constantly scrutinised.
Maurya, ironically, has a tainted image. According to the Association for Democratic Reform, the deputy CM has 11 criminal cases against him. The ADR report said there are three criminal cases against Yogi Adityanath.
A place of pride
It’s likely that Home is not the only portfolio the two deputy CMs covet. Finance, revenue, public works department, irrigation, power, co-operatives, agriculture, urban development and secondary education are just a few of the other ministries, which are considered lucrative.
The distribution of portfolios also determines the stature of a minister in the government.
Shivpal Yadav, the once all-powerful minister in the Samajwadi Party government, was the minister of PWD, irrigation and co-operatives even after his nephew, former CM Akhilesh Yadav, had punished him by taking away all his portfolios during the bitter and public family feud.
Azam Khan, who was known for the clout he wielded as the Samajwadi Party’s Muslim face, was not just the minister of urban development, but overall urban development, and parliamentary affairs. It was in that capacity that he had ordered uprooting of Valmikis from their tenements resulting in a prolonged agitation by the dwellers.
Whatever overall urban development may have meant in the wider context of the state, Khan focused all his energies on the development of Rampur and his dream project - the Maulana Ali Jauhar University.
Akhilesh Yadav had had more than 50 portfolios under his charge, which had made it difficult for him to do justice to most. With two deputies, Yogi Adityanath may not want keep 50 departments, but Home, which comes with Vigilance, is one he may not want to hand over without a fight.
And if the CM managed to pip Maurya in race for the post for the chief minister’s chair, it’s quite likely he’ll get his way again.