Adityanath’s meeting with UP guv triggers speculation of cabinet reshuffle

Lucknow: Fuelling fresh speculation of a possible cabinet reshuffle in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met Governor Anandiben Patel here on Saturday.

“Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met Governor Anandiben Patel at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday. The one-on-one meeting lasted for around 30 minutes,” an official told PTI.

He declined to elaborate further.

The appointment of OBC leader and Uttar Pradesh minister Swatantra Dev Singh as the new state unit chief of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has put the spotlight on a possible reshuffle of the cabinet headed by Adityanath.

According to the BJP’s “one person-one post” principle, Singh cannot simultaneously hold the positions of a minister and the state party chief.

He is currently the minister of state (independent charge) for transport and protocol.

“The possibility of a reshuffle in the state cabinet increases with Singh’s appointment as the new Uttar Pradesh BJP chief,” a senior leader of the saffron party’s state unit said, requesting anonymity.

He pointed out that three state ministers were elected to Parliament in the Lok Sabha polls held in April-May, while one was sacked.

The three ministers, who successfully contested the parliamentary polls, are SP Singh Baghel from Agra, Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Allahabad and Satyadev Pachauri from Kanpur.

Disgruntled minister and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) leader OP Rajbhar was sacked by the chief minister for his outburst against his NDA partner, the BJP.

“Reshuffling of the cabinet is the chief minister’s prerogative,” the BJP leader told PTI.

Uttar Pradesh has a total of 43 ministers, including the chief minister. There are 18 cabinet ministers, nine ministers of state with independent charge and 13 ministers of state, in addition to two deputy chief ministers — Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma.

The maximum strength of the cabinet can be 15 per cent of the Assembly’s total strength. The Uttar Pradesh Assembly has 403 seats and hence, the state can have a maximum of 61 ministers, including the chief minister.

Before meeting the governor, Adityanath met senior BJP leaders, including Singh, at the state headquarters of the saffron party here. The leaders held a discussion on various organisational matters.