The BJP's massive win in Uttar Pradesh has paved the way for the first reshuffle of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's council of ministers as three ministers have won the Lok Sabha election creating vacancies in the state Cabinet. Also, a vacancy was created after disgruntled minister and SBSP leader O P Rajbhar was sacked by the chief minister for his outburst against his senior NDA partner, the BJP.
The ruling party is likely to reward its leaders for their hard work during the general election campaigning which resulted in it winning 62 seats, BJP sources said. This would be the first cabinet reshuffle since Adityanath was sworn in as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in March 2017.
Adityanath had indicated during an interview to PTI that a cabinet reshuffling was very much on the cards and he was likely to take a decision soon. "We will do it (Cabinet expansion). We will do everything as and when time comes. We will do everything in the interest of the state," he had said.
"Mahendra Singh was the party's in-charge in Assam, where the BJP had won nine out of 14 Lok Sabha seats. After the elections were over in Assam, he was assigned the task of organising the roadshow of BJP chief Amit Shah in Amethi and Gorakhpur. Both the roadshows were highly successful," a senior UP BJP leader told PTI.
Mahendra Singh is the minister of state (independent charge) for Rural Development and Overall Village Development. Another leader of the BJP state unit said UP minister Swatantradev Singh was made in-charge of the crucial state of Madhya Pradesh, where the party bagged 28 out of 29 Lok Sabha seats.
"The task was indeed very challenging as the BJP had lost in the assembly elections to the Congress. Hence, to boost the morale of the party workers and to ensure that a positive result for the party comes from that state was a tough task. His efforts paid rich dividends for the party, as Congress bigwigs such as Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia had to taste defeat," he said.
Swatantradev Singh is the minister of state (independent charge) for Transport and Protocol. Four cabinet ministers in the UP government were in the poll fray. Of them, three won and one lost. UP Cabinet Minister for Animal Husbandry, Minor Irrigation and Fisheries S P Singh Baghel registered a win from Agra by a margin of 2,11,546 votes.
Similarly, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who is the minister of women's welfare, family welfare, mother and child welfare, tourism, won from Allahabad, defeating her nearest rival Rajendra Singh Patel by 1,84,275 votes. Satyadev Pachauri, who holds the portfolio of Khadi Village Industries, Sericulture, Textile, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Export Promotion, won from Kanpur.
However, UP Cooperative Minister Mukut Bihari Verma lost to BSP's Ritesh Pandey by 95,880 votes. With the monsoon session of the UP Legislative Assembly likely in the next couple of months, it is to be seen whether the reshuffle takes place before or after the session.