Adityanath shuffles ministry, inducts 18 new members

Source: PTI | Published on 21st August 2019, 11:15 PM | National News | Don't Miss |

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister on Wednesday inducted 18 new members in his council of ministers, the first such reshuffle since the BJP government came to power in the state two and a half years back.

Twenty-three ministers the 18 new faces and five others who were elevated from the minister of state rank they held earlier were sworn in by Governor Anandiben Patel at the Raj Bhavan.

Six of the 23 were sworn in as cabinet ministers, six as ministers of state with an independent charge and the remaining 11 get the MoS rank. Their portfolios are likely to be announced later.

Among the six sworn in as cabinet ministers, four were earlier ministers of state with independent charge. Another was elevated to the rank of MoS with an independent charge.

Two new faces - Ram Naresh Agnihotri and Kamal Rani Varun - joined as cabinet ministers.

No representative of BJP ally Apna Dal (S) got a berth in Wednesday's expansion.

The NDA partner has eight members in the state assembly and one in the legislative council. Only one of them, Jai Kumar Singh, is an MoS.

Those promoted to the rank of cabinet ministers are Mahendra Singh, Suresh Rana, Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary and Anil Rajbhar.

Mahendra Singh is apparently being rewarded for his performance as the in-charge of the party's affairs in Assam in the recent Lok Sabha elections. Suresh Rana, a strong Hindutva leader in western UP, is seen to have successfully run the state's sugarcane department.

Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary is a prominent Jat leader in western Uttar Pradesh.

The chief minister also elevated Anil Rajbhar as a cabinet minister to fill the gap caused by the exit of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, who has considerable influence in the Rajbhar community.

First-time MLA but a BJP veteran, Ram Naresh Agnihotri, who represents Bhogaon assembly segment of Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency has been inducted as a cabinet minister. Mainpuri is considered a stronghold of the opposition Samajwadi Party.

Agnihotri has been associated with the party since 1980 and was a member of the legislative council in the past.

The second fresh induction at that level, former Kanpur MP Kamal Rani Varun, represents Ghatampur (SC) seat in the assembly. She is now the only woman cabinet minister following Rita Bahuguna Joshi's resignation after getting elected to the Lok Sabha.

Neelkanth Tewari, who now gets an independent charge as MoS, was earlier minister of state for Information.

Tewari represents Varanasi South assembly segment in the high-profile Lok Sabha constituency represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A day before the cabinet reshuffle, the chief minister was closeted with senior RSS functionaries and top state BJP leaders to give a final shape to his new team that is expected to lead the state up to the 2022 assembly elections.

The swearing-in ceremony was punctuated with chants of 'Har Har Mahadev' by supporters of Ravindra Jaiswal, when his name was called out for taking oath.

The revamp follows vacant slots in the Uttar Pradesh ministry after the Lok Sabha elections.

Three of the 47 ministers earlier -- Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Satyadev Pachauri and S P Singh Baghel -- were elected to the Lok Sabha in May. SBSP party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar was sacked from the ministry over his outbursts against the BJP-led government.

Another minister, Swatantra Dev Singh, was appointed as the party's state unit chief

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