LUCKNOW: With an eye on the 2022 Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inducted a maximum seven new ministers from Uttar Pradesh in the Union Council of Ministers. Knowing well that the non-Yadav OBC and non-Jatav Scheduled Castes (SC) had played an integral role in BJP’s historic 312 seats in 2017, the Wednesday’s Cabinet expansion kept in mind addressing the caste arithmetic of UP, as barring one new minister, Ajay Kumar Mishra ‘Teni,’ all others hailed from the OBC or the SC segment.
With the Patel (Kurmi) caste being second only to Yadavs in numbers in the OBC, two new inductees Pankaj Chaudhary and Anupriya Singh Patel are from the same caste, which has traditionally aligned with
the BJP. The return of Anupriya (daughter of powerful Kurmi community leader late Sonelal Patel) in Team Modi is being seen as a timely effort by the BJP to keep Apna Dal (S) in good humour.
The third OBC leader to make to the Union Cabinet is BL Verma. He belongs to the influential Lodh Rajput community which has a strong presence in central UP and Braj region.The three new SC inductees are Kaushal Kishore (who is considered close to Amit Shah), five-time MPs Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma and SPS Baghel.
Through the re-induction of powerful SC leader Dr Virender Kumar (presently the third time MP from Tikamgarh) of Madhya Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region, the BJP has tried to strike a chord with the SC voters of adjoining Bundelkhand region of UP also.
Keeping Brahmin vote in mind, the NDA inducted two-time MP from Lakhimpur Kheri seat Ajay Kumar
Mishra ‘Teni.’The Cabinet expansion, however, didn’t have any new minister from the Jat caste which is at the forefront of the nationwide farmers agitation.
NISHAD Party gets raw deal from Centre
Apart from the Jat community which did not find place in the revamped Union Council of Ministers, another notable exception was BJP ally NISHAD Party, whose president Sanjay Nishad has recently tried to play pressure politics with the BJP, demanding that he be declared deputy chief minister face of the ruling alliance while going into the 2022 polls.