LUCKNOW: Just a day ahead of much-awaited cabinet expansion of Yogi Adityanath government, scheduled to take place on Wednesday, five ministers, including state finance minister Rajesh Agarwal, basic education minister Anupama Jaiswal and three others resigned here on Tuesday.
While Agarwal, an eight-time MLA from Bareilly Cant, quit the ministry on health grounds as he has just stepped into 75 plus age bracket, the other ministers including Jaiswal, Chetan Chauhan, Swati Singh and Mukut Bihari Verma, put in their papers in the wake of impending reshuffle . However, there was no official confirmation of the resignations other than Agarwal and Jaiswal.
Meanwhile, over a dozen new faces are likely to be sworn in at Raj Bhawan at 11 am on Wednesday. While four ministers of state with independent charge are likely to be promoted to the cabinet rank, a few may be shown the door on the basis of their performance during the last 29 months. This would be the first expansion of Yogi cabinet in the two and a half years of its tenure.
CM Yogi Adityanath huddled with senior RSS leadership in a coordination meeting for four hours in Lucknow on Tuesday. As per highly-placed sources, the deliberations at the coordination meeting mainly focused over the work and worth of Yogi ministers, cabinet expansion and strategy for upcoming bypolls to 13 Assembly seats in the state.
The expansion was earlier slated for Monday but it was deferred at the last moment owing to the critical condition of former Union Finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley.The probable faces who can be sworn-in on Wednesday include Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh (MLA- Gautam Buddh Nagar), BJP ally Apna Dal chief and MP Anupriya Patel’s husband Ashish Patel (MLC AD).
The cabinet expansion has been necessitated due to the slots lying vacant for quite some time now. While three of the Yogi ministers had to quit the UP cabinet after being elected to the Lok Sabha, another cabinet berth got vacated after disgruntled Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party chief OP Rajbhar was sacked by the CM immediately after the Lok Sabha poll results.
The maximum strength of the council of ministers can be 15 per cent of the assembly’s total strength.