Yogi brings in 23 new ministers, many first timers

IANS

Lucknow: In what can be termed as a near-total revamp of the Yogi Adityanath government, 23 new ministers were sworn in on Wednesday at the Raj Bhawan by Governor Anandiben Patel.

The newly inducted ministers include six Cabinet Ministers, six Ministers of State with Independent charge and 11 Ministers of State.

The most significant aspect of Wednesday's reshuffle is that majority of the newly inducted ministers are first timers with almost no administrative experience. Yogi Adityanath will face an uphill task in making these ministers perform.

Four Ministers of State, who held Independent charge, have been promoted as Cabinet Ministers.

The Cabinet Ministers, who were sworn in are Mahendra Singh, Bhupendra Chaudhary, Anil Rajbhar, Suresh Rana, Kamal Rani and Ram Naresh Agnihotri. Except for Kamal Rani and Ram Naresh Agnihotri, the remaining four have been elevated.

Those sworn in as Ministers of State with Independent charge are Kapil Dev, Ashok Katehria, Neelkanth Tiwari, Ravindra Jaiswal, Shri Ram Chauhan and Satish Dwiwedi -- the latter had defeated former Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey in 2017.

Neelkanth Tiwari, who has been given Independent charge, and Ravindra Jaiswal both belong to Varanasi, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency.

The 11 Ministers of State are Anil Sharma, Mahesh Gupta, Anand Swarup Shukla, Vijay Kashyap, Giriraj Singh Dharmesh, Lakhan Singh Rajput, Nilima Katiyar, Chaudhary Udaybhan Singh, Chandrika Prasad Upadhyaya, Rama Shankar Singh Patel and Ajit Singh Pal.

Of the 23 new ministers inducted -- six are Brahmins, four Thakurs, three Vaishyas and 10 Dalits. Western Uttar Pradesh has been given a sizeable representation in the council of ministers.

A surprise development was that names of Pankaj Singh, son of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Vijay Bahadur Pathak, party General Secretary and Ashish Patel (Apna Dal) were dropped at the last minute.

The dropping of Ministers including Chetan Chauhan, Swati Singh and Mukut Bihari Varma was also deferred, following a late night meeting between the Chief Minister, party state President Swatantra Dev Singh and Sangh leaders.

The Yogi Council of Ministers had more than 20 vacancies after some ministers were asked to resign on Tuesday. These include Rajesh Agarwal who was the finance minister, Dharampal Singh (irrigation), Anupama Jaiswal (Basic education) and Archana Pandey (mining).

Earlier on Monday, Swatantra Dev Singh (Transport) had quit the ministry after being appointed state BJP president.

Three ministers who were elected to the Lok Sabha -- Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Satyadev Pachauri and S.P. Singh Baghel -- had resigned in June while Om Prakash Rajbhar, who heads the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, was sacked for causing embarrassment to the BJP-led government with his outbursts against the saffron party.

Interestingly, the media was kept out of the swearing-in ceremony. Only 60 of the 1,250 accreditated journalists -- almost all of them from the electronic media -- were allowed entry while the print media was kept out. Officials cited "lack of space" as the reason.