Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
File photo - PTI

Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is planning to expand its cabinet maintaining a delicate caste and gender balance ahead of the 2022 Assembly polls, BJP insiders said.

That Radha Mohan Singh, the BJP’s UP in-charge, was in the state capital on Saturday, intensified the speculations.

Two cabinet posts are vacant after the demise of Chetan Chauhan and Kamla Rani Varun due to COVID-19. Some senior ministers are facing flak for corruption in their departments. "They can be dropped so that party can go to the next polls with a clean image", sources say.

Party insiders say, late Chetan Chauhan’s wife Sangeeta Chauhan, who has won his Amroha seat in the bypoll last month, might be given a cabinet post. Mrs. Chauhan had been the general manager of a bank. The wife of Late Virendra Sirohi also won the husband's Bulandshahr seat in the bypoll, but she is a homemaker.

“Being a woman and having administrative experience, Mrs. Chauhan can fill the gap of twin cabinet vacancies. Vidyasagar Sonkar, MLC and a former MP, may also be inducted as he is a big OBC face in the Eastern UP,” a senior said. He added that the ministers are unlikely to be dropped to avoid any negative sentiments and backlash.

“Radha Mohan Singh will be meeting CM Yogi, BJP state chief Swatantra Dev Singh and others to chalk out the strategy for upcoming Panchayat elections will be chalked out during the meet,” a senior BJP leader told the FPJ.

The expansion is likely to be announced by 15 December and believed to be the last one as the next elections are just a year away.

The last time, the expansion was carried out in August 2019 in which 23 new ministers were inducted of which six were cabinet rank, six others were Minister of State (Independent Charge) and the remaining 11 were Ministers of State. A total 10 of them belonged to Dalit or OBC communities.

Many ministers were dropped as well last time on account of old age, inefficiency, and even corruption charges.

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