SP chief Mulayam, election had a role in UP cabinet expansion
Lucknow: Two factors, forthcoming election and Samajwadi Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, seem to have influenced the Uttar Pradesh cabinet expansion effected on Monday.
It should not surprise anyone because the next expansion is not on the card and whosoever had to be pleased, can be pleased only now that the coming election has been kept in mind looks obvious for one reason – political and caste equations in the expansion. Attempt has been made to please all sections including Brahmins who have been largely supporting other parties.
Mulayam seems to have played a role because most of the ministers who were administered oath were considered close to him. Take for instance the case of Gayatri Prasad Prajapati. He was removed from the ministry by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav following order of CBI inquiry into the alleged mining scandal during his tenure as minister for mines.
There were allegations of corruption against him too. For this and some other reasons, he was removed from the ministry in the past also. But, it is believed that Mulayam always defended him and that he ensured his re-induction. He has been taken in again due to his ‘pressure’.
Besides him, few other members of the party are also understood to have been offered berths because of him. Names being mentioned in this connection are those of Shivkant Ojha, Ravidas Mehrotra and Manoj Pandey.
In addition to him, caste factor seems to have been a decider for, besides Brahmin, Kurmis and two sects of the Muslim community, Shia and Sunni, have found place. The Bahujan Samaj Party overtures to the Brahmin caste could be also a reason. The party has authorised its caste leader Satish Chandra Mishra to do whatever can be done to bring the caste closer to it. He had invited members of this caste to a meeting in Gorakhpur only Yesterday.
One member each of this caste and Muslim community, who were ministers of state, have been promoted which only adds to the appeasement belief.
Ten ministers were administered oath out of which four were new faces including Ziauddin Rizvi, Mangal Pandey, Shiv Shankar Ojha and Riyaz Ahmed. Of the rest, three were re-inducted and two promoted from the rank of ministers of state to cabinet rank.
The remaining one, Shabkar Lal Manjhi, was appointed in place of Laxmikant Nishad who has been sacked to some serious charges against him. With the expansion the total number of ministers has gone up to 60, the maximum allowed under the present guideline.