LUCKNOW: The suspense over who will keep the crucial home department ended with the allocation of portfolios to Yogi ministers here on Wednesday. After three days of confabulations, the CM finally decided to keep home portfolio himself along with finance and handed over two other key portfolios -PWD and Higher Education -to his two deputies Keshav Maurya and Dinesh Sharma respectively.
All this long, the corridors of power were rife with speculations that Deputy CM Keshav Maurya was making a pitch for ‘Home’.
The CM, however, much against the convention, done away with the second key portfolio after Home - Finance-by handing it over to a relatively low-profile Cabinet Minister Rajesh Agrawal. Interestingly, Agarwal might have been chosen for his acumen for finances as he has been UP BJP treasurer for a long time.
To have the bureaucracy under his direct control, the CM has also retained Secretariat Administration, Personnel and Appointment departments. Similarly, by keeping Information, Revenue, Housing and Urban Planning and Food and Civil Supplies with him, Yogi has sent the signals that he means business.
The other important portfolios like Public Works Department (PWD) has gone to deputy CM Keshav Maurya. In the previous Akhilesh government, it was held by uncle Shivpal for good four years after which he was sacked by the ex-CM owing to family feud and also complaints of irregularities.
Notably, Mathura MLA and BJP chief Amit Shah's favourite Shrikant Sharma has been given the reins of ‘Energy’ while PM’s ‘experiment boy’ Siddharth Nath Singh has been entrusted with Health department’s responsibility.
The other deputy of Yogi, Dr Dinesh Sharma, a professor of commerce at Lucknow university, has been suitable chosen to head ‘Secondary & Higher Education, Science and Technology and Information and Technology departments. Among the turncoats, while Rita Bahuguna Joshi will look after Women and Family Welfare and Women, Child Welfare and Tourism, SPS Baghel has got Animal Husbandry, Swami Prasad Maurya will head Labour, Urban Employement and Poverty Eradication and Brajesh Pathak has got his hands full with Law and Legal Services, Additional Energy Resources and Political Pension.
Interestingly, eight-time MLA from Shajahanpur, who was also a frontrunner in the race for the top post of UP, Suresh Khanna will take care of key portfolios like Parliamentary Affairs, Urban Development and Urban Integrated Development. However, the lone Bhumihar in Yogi cabinet, Surya Pratap Shahi will be the new Agriculture, Agriculture Education and Agricultural Research minister of the state. Senior lodh (backward) leader of the party Dharam Pal Singh has got ‘Irrigation’. Before Keshav Maurya’s appointment as BJP chief, Dharam Pal was touted to be the party’s chief in UP.
Former Test cricketer with 40 Test caps and Cabinet Minister Chetan Chauhan has aptly been given Sports and Youth Welfare. Former Health Minister Ramapati Shastri has got Social Welfare, Scheduled Caste and Tribe Welfare and Jai Prakash Singh has got Excise and Prohibition. Alliance partner and Cabinet Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar has got Backward Welfare and Handicap Welfare.
While Maharajpur MLA and Cabinet Minister Satish Mahana has bagged Industrial Development possible as he comes from Kanpur, Manchaster of East. Similarly, Transport has gone to Minister of State (independent charge) Swatantra Deo Singh. Singh is the Kurmi face of the party. He is neither an MLA nor MLC but has made it to Yogi’s cabinet owing to his closeness with party chief Amit Shah and UP organising secretary Sunil Bansal. However, Singh’s his hard work was acknowledged dueing elections as he organised rallies of PM Narendra Modi. Swatantra Deo has also been given the charge of Protocol department and would assist Srikant Sharma as MoS in Energy department.
Muzaffarnagar riot accused MLA Suresh Rana, however, has been given Cane Development and Sugarmills. Rana comes from western UP, the sugar bowl of the state. He would also assist Satish Mahana as MoS Industrial Development.
First time MLA and state chief of BJP women’s wing, Swati Singh whose political career is barely a few months old, has got NRI Department, Agricultural Export, Agricultural Foreign Trade and MoS for Women, Family and Child Welfare. Interestingly, Swati Singh, probably is the only MoS (Independent Charge) with maximum number of portfolios.
Despite having a Mulsim minister in his cabinet, Yogi decided to hand over Minority Affairs to Baldev Olakh, a Sikh minister who comes from Azam Khan’s Rampur. However, the lone Muslim minister Mohsin Raza would look after Muslim Waqf and Haj.
Surprisingly, all the departments related to education have gone to ex-CM Kalyan Singh’s grandson and Atrauli MLA Sandeep Singh. He has been given the responsibility of Primary, Secondary, Higher, Technical and Medical Education as MoS.