The cabinet expansion of the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday has set the roadmap for the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh next year.
The selection of names inducted in the Union Cabinet from Uttar Pradesh, clearly indicates the priorities of the BJP for the UP elections. Of the seven ministers from the state inducted into the cabinet on Wednesday, six are non-upper castes. Four of the newly-inducted ministers belong to various OBC caste groups.
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Anupriya Patel and Pankaj Chaudhary are from the Kurmi caste, while BL Varma is from the Lodh community and SP Singh Baghel is an OBC (Gadaria) but claims to be a scheduled caste. His case on this issue is sub judice.
Bhanu Pratap Verma is a Dalit and Kaushal Kishore is also a Dalit (Pasi community). The lone upper caste is Ajay Mishra, a Brahmin.
Interestingly, the BJP has carefully chosen to opt for only non-Yadav OBCs which means that the ruling party is intentionally trying to break the OBC unity and damage the Samajwadi Party.
The cabinet expansion also makes it abundantly clear that the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, will now focus on OBCs and Dalits who from the largest chunk of voters.
“There was no need to focus on upper castes since we have a Chief Minister who belongs to the Thakur community and a Deputy Chief Minister who is from the Brahmin community. The party wants to send a clear message that it seeks participation in power of sections of society that have not got their due,” said a party functionary.