With less than six months for Uttar Pradesh to head to polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to be checking all the boxes in its state Cabinet to ensure a victory.
On Sunday, 26 September, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expanded his Cabinet with seven new faces, with the most prominent being that of former Congress leader Jitin Prasada, who was given a Cabinet berth. The UP Cabinet has now been stretched to 60, the maximum allowed constitutionally.
Prasada, who jumped ship from the grand old party earlier this year in June, will reportedly help consolidate the Brahmin vote bank for the BJP.
Aside from Prasada, Sunday’s Cabinet expansion also included Chhatarpal Gangwar, Paltu Ram, Sangeeta Balwant, Sanjeev Kumar, Dinesh Khatik and Dharam Veer Prajapati, who belong to the OBC, SC and ST communities, and will join as ministers of state.
The new Cabinet also signals a clear exercise of social engineering, with the BJP trying to woo the Brahmin vote with the inclusion of Prasada and giving more representation to Dalits and OBCs in the UP Cabinet. It also mirrors the same social engineering tactics made in the recent Union Cabinet reshuffle in July.
But the big question is whether this social engineering – just months away from elections – work in the BJP’s favour, especially with calls of anti-incumbency hanging in the political corridors of the state.
To discuss the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet expansion and what it signals for the BJP in the 2022 Assembly polls, we spoke with political analyst Amitabh Tiwari. Tune in!