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Reshuffle on the cards, UP to dominate Modi's cabinet

Panini Anand | Updated on: 18 June 2016, 12:46 IST

What is expected

  • Narendra Modi is expected to push his UP agenda with the cabinet reshuffle
  • To make sure BJP win in the upcoming elections, UP faces have to take be on the forefront

How will be done

  • While the BJP top brass is to remain untouched, there might be changes the second and third levels
  • Keeping the top brass unchanged will give more freedom and comfort to PM Modi

More in the story

  • Who may come in and who is going out?
  • What are the reasons behind these elevations and inclusions?

BJP's 'Achche Din' arrived with the Assam poll results and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party are doing all that's important to them but had to be put on hold for a 'better' time.

They have kick-started the campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh; and it is also time for a reshuffle of the union cabinet, which has been on the cards for a couple of months now.

There has been a lot of speculation about it, but Modi is yet to make a proper statement about it. Sources, however, suggest that the time has finally arrived and the reshuffle will be done soon.

Also read: New year, new cabinet: Modi govt and BJP set for major overhaul

This cabinet rejig, however, is expected to be driven more by political strategy than the need to reward or punish parliamentarians.

Sources also suggest that the PM may keep his brass unchanged and alter the second and third lines of the cabinet. That will send out a message that ministers have performed well and there was no need to punish anybody.

Retaining the top ministers will also make them more devoted to Modi and he will enjoy more freedom in office.

All eyes on UP

Recently in Allahabad, while addressing the Parivartan Rally, after a two-day national executive meet, Modi started his speech by mentioning that UP dominates his cabinet.

The idea was to let people know that UP was of vital importance to him. And now Modi is going to push this message further.

The upcoming cabinet reshuffle is going to be UP dominated say sources. More faces from the state are expected to become parts of Modi's team. While some existing ministers from UP are to get promoted, there will also be new faces being added.

The decisions are in accordance to BJP's strategy for the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.

Gaining favours

Faces such as Sanjeev Baliyan and Mahesh Sharma might get promoted in this reshuffle. Both have gained popularity in the past few years mainly because of their hard Hindutva line.

While Sanjeev Baliyan, MP from Muzaffarnagar, has been allegedly accused of being involved in the Muzaffarnagar riots, Mahesh Sharma played an active role in the Dadri propaganda with his hate speeches.

After elevation, both the Hindutva hardliners are definitely going to get more aggressive and confident and are expected to build an active campaign based on their line of thought.

Manoj Sinha, who is minister of state for the railways, might also get elevated. Its important for BJP to make the Bhumihars feel favoured especially after they dropped Sinha's name as party president in UP.

Also read: The takeover: how the Modi govt has filled key positions in 14 institutions

Another leader and an OBC face from the state, Santosh Gangwar, who is minister of state for quite a few ministries, might get space in Modi's cabinet.

Poll strategy

On of BJP's most strategic moves will be to bring in Apna Dal MP from Mirzapur, Anupriya Patel, into Modi's cabinet.

Anupriya supported BJP in the 2014 elections. Her community has a significant presence in the Purvanchal area of the state and at the times when Nitish Kumar and Beni Prasad are trying to pull Kurmi votes, Anupriya's elevation will be a perk for the community to support Modi.

Adityanath, BJP MP from Gorakhpur, is also expected to be among the fresh faces on Modi's team.

He is another Rajput face from Purvanchal, the region represented by Rajnath Singh, Home Minister in Modi's cabinet.

Adityanath has got nothing from Modi so far and has good control over Purvanchal and among the Rajputs.

Adityanath's supporters have been projecting him as the CM candidate for last few Assembly elections in the state and the same chorus is loud again.

Including Adityanath in the cabinet will keep him and his supporters under control. With his induction there would be less chances of him going against BJP or not helping thye part the upcoming elections.

Others in the queue

A senior party leader like Vinay Sahasrabudhe is also said to be on the list of new ministers. He is the party's national vice president and has been a part of some very important assignments of the Modi government.

There is possibility of promoting Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi who is minister of state for parliamentary affairs. But faces like Vinay Sampla, who has been given charge of Punjab, could be among those being dropped. The same is being speculated about minority affairs minister Najma Heptullah.

The cabinet reshuffle has to reflect the right combination of caste calculation by the leadership and at the same time, send a message of a strong and dominating UP presence in team Modi. It will be vital for the upcoming elections.

"It is an important election for the party and leadership and now is the time to give 'a stronger UP' message to the voters. There is less possibility of any big names being dropped from the cabinet. Reports about Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley are wrong. However, nothing can be said about what is really on Modi's mind," said sources.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

Also read: Uttar Pradesh polls: How prepared is SP to counter BJP on the Kairana issue

First published: 18 June 2016, 12:46 IST
Panini Anand @paninianand

Senior Assistant Editor at Catch, Panini is a poet, singer, cook, painter, commentator, traveller and photographer who has worked as reporter, producer and editor for organizations including BBC, Outlook and Rajya Sabha TV. An IIMC-New Delhi alumni who comes from Rae Bareli of UP, Panini is fond of the Ghats of Varanasi, Hindustani classical music, Awadhi biryani, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd, political talks and heritage walks. He has closely observed the mainstream national political parties, the Hindi belt politics along with many mass movements and campaigns in last two decades. He has experimented with many mass mediums: theatre, street plays and slum-based tabloids, wallpapers to online, TV, radio, photography and print.