As many as seven ministers took oath today at a ceremony held in Gandhi auditorium at the Raj Bhavan in Lucknow.
Prominent among the new ministers is Jitin Prasada, the former Congress leader who recently jumped ship to the BJP.
Prasada was inducted in the party amid its internal worries about the thin representation of the Brahmin community.
Besides Prasada, six other MLAs took oath as ministers of state. These include Sangeeta Balwant Bind, Palturam, Sanjeev Kumar Gaur, Dinesh Khatik, Chhatrapal Gangwar and Dharamveer Prajapati.
Bareilly MLA Gangwar, Agra MLC Prajapati and Ghazipur MLA Sangeeta Balwant Bind belong to the OBC communities.
Lucknow: BJP MLAs Palturam, Sangeeta Balwant, Sanjeev Kumar, and Dinesh Khatik take oath as ministers of state (MoS… https://t.co/kew2EOi18G
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) 1632660392000
Khatik and Palturam, MLAs from Hastinapur and Balrampur respectively, represent the SC community.
Sanjay Singh Gaur, an MLA from Obra seat of Sonbhadra, is an ST leader.
Meanwhile, Samjawadi Party chief and former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav took a dig at the cabinet expansion’s timing, calling the BJP’s move a “drama”.
“Today, a drama is being created to represent those who didn’t get their due for four and a half years. Till the time the color of the names of the new ministers dries up, the model code of conduct for the 2022 elections will be implemented,” he tweeted in Hindi.
The cabinet expansion was carried out along the lines of the Union Cabinet rejig, which also saw a major OBC push ahead of key assembly elections.
With the inclusion of these minister, the size of Yogi’s cabinet has now gone up to 60.
The maximum strength of the UP Cabinet can be 15 per cent of the total strength of its assembly. The Uttar Pradesh assembly has 403 seats.
In the 2017 UP assembly elections, the BJP had won 312 seats out of the 403 seats. Its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) had won nine seats.
The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) too had contested the 2017 assembly polls in alliance with the BJP and had won four seats but it had walked out of the alliance in 2019.
(With inputs from PTI)