Nearing Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the parties are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the maximum vote share. In such a move, Yogi led BJP Government has also made major changes in its cabinet which are being considered as a crucial change to stabilise the caste and regional balance, to boost up the vote bank in the biggest political state of the country.
UP cabinet reshuffle
Only a few months ahead of the Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh Government has expanded its cabinet. The names to join the new cabinet include Jitin Prasada, Chhatrapal Singh Gangwar, Paltu Ram, Sangeeta Balwant, Sanjeev Kumar Gaur, Dinesh Khatik, and Dharamveer Singh.
Interestingly, Mr Prasada was a close associate of Rahul Gandhi before he jumped ships to join BJP in June this year. In addition to that, the other new faces, Gangwar – the MLA from Bahedi in Bareilly, Dharamveer, an MLC from western UP’s Agra, and Dr Bind – a first-time MLA from Ghazipur Sadar, all three belongs to OBC communities.
While Hastinapur MLA Dinesh Khateek and Paltu Ram are from a Scheduled Caste, Sanjiv Kumar a first-time MLA from Obra in eastern UP’s Sonbhadra is from a Scheduled Tribe.
A masterstroke to ensure the demise of opposition parties
With the induction of Ministers belonging to OBC, SC and ST communities, BJP is aiming at balancing the vote share from all the communities. Prasada, the party’s top Brahmin face in UP, will help the party gain the trust of Brahmins that holds around 13 per cent of UP’s voters. Given the ‘Icchadari Hindu’ mode of various parties including the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Aam Aadmi Party, it was required for BJP to take any action in order to gain the vote share of other communities as well. Thus, the induction will eventually play a vital role for BJP to contest strongly in upcoming elections.
Dr Bind, the newly inducted Minister said, “Whatever time is there we will work… the BJP wants to take all communities with it (a reference to the party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ slogan)… there is no harm in furthering the interests of all communities.”
Another inducted Minister, Mr Khateek said, “I have worked in the BJP for a long time and we will follow the policy of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. Dalits have voted for the BJP en masse and this trend is going to continue.”
The “BJP” formula of winning Uttar Pradesh
However, BJP had begun the preparation a while ago. Earlier this year, TFI had reported that BJP’s Chanakya Amit Shah engineered the formula to throw all the heavyweights leaders into the election battlefield, including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. It was reported that Yogi will be contesting the legislative polls from the Ayodhya seat to send a bold message to the voters.
The party has also changed the vote dynamics of the state by bringing Dalits into its corner. After laying the foundation stone for the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust delivered the first prasad to the house of a Dalit Mahaveer in Ayodhya, which explains the shift in the Dalit votes to the BJP.
Moreover, in view of the pattern of anti-incumbency voting in Purvanchal, the party has activated all the big leaders in the region. BJP ministers including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been frequently visiting the districts of Varanasi, Mirzapur and Gorakhpur, to keep the party’s political base strong in the region.