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NDA partners SBSP, RLD get representation as Yogi Adityanath effects Cabinet expansion

NEW DELHI: SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, RLD’s Anil Kumar and two BJP leaders were sworn in Tuesday as Yogi Adityanath expanded his council of ministers, weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
They were sworn in as ministers by Governor Anandiben Patel at the Raj Bhavan in the presence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Apart from SBSP’s Rajbhar and RLD’s Kumar, Dara Singh Chauhan and Sunil Kumar Sharma from the BJP are the new entrants into the state Cabinet, in what is being seen as an attempt by the BJP to consolidate its position in several regions of the state ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

While Rajbhar represents the Zahoorabad assembly constituency of the Ghazipur district, Anil Kumar is an MLA from Purkazi (SC) in Muzaffarnagar. Sunil Kumar Sharma is the BJP MLA from Sahibabad assembly constituency in Ghaziabad district.

Dara Singh Chauhan is a member of the UP Legislative Council.
This is the first Cabinet expansion in Adityanath’s second term as chief minister.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) are now a part of the ruling NDA.
Prior to the expansion, the council of ministers had 52 members — 18 Cabinet ministers, including the chief Minister, 14 Ministers of State (independent charge) and 20 MoSes.

With these four additions, the total strength of the UP’s council of ministers will reach 56.

Accordinng to provisions, Uttar Pradesh can have a maximum of 60 ministers.

Chief Minister congratulated the newly-inducted ministers.

”There is full confidence that all of you will play an important role in realising the resolve of ‘Developed Uttar Pradesh’ by implementing ‘Modi’s Guarantee’ at the ground (level). My best wishes to all of you for your bright tenure!,” he said in a post on X in Hindi.

Speaking to reporters after taking oath, Dara Singh Chauhan thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief JP Nadda, Union Home minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Adityanath.

”I will try my level best to fulfil their expectations. We will work diligently, and win 80 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP,” Chauhan said.

Rajbhar told reporters there has been no riots in the state during the seven years the Adityanath government and no curfew has been imposed. ”During the rule of the SP and the Congress, riots used to take place in the state. Today, there is rule of law in the state. In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, we will win 80 out of the 80 seats from UP, and the BJP will register wins on 400-plus seats in the country,” Rajbhar said.

RLD’s Anil Kumar thanked party president Jayant Chaudhary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Adityanath.

”I have got a huge responsibility, and I will discharge it with full honesty and allegiance. We will work to win all the 80 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state, and fulfil the call of (winning) 400-plus seats (for the NDA) given by the prime minister,” he said. Last week, Jayant Chaudhary met Home Minister Shah and BJP president Nadda in Delhi and formally joined the ruling National Democratic Alliance. On Monday, the RLD declared its candidates from Bijnor and Baghpat for the general elections.

Dara Singh Chauhan, who lost the Ghosi assembly by-election after returning to the BJP last year, was elected to the UP Legislative Council this year in January.

Rajbhar also re-joined the BJP-led NDA last year in 2023.

Rajbhar, who separated from the BSP and founded the SBSP in 2002, is a native of Varanasi district. The Rajbhar community to which he belongs has a good following in the districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

SBSP had fought the 2017 UP Assembly elections in alliance with the BJP and four of their MLAs won. Om Prakash Rajbhar was made a cabinet minister (Backward Class Welfare) in Yogi’s first government, but the party parted ways with the alliance before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and resigned from the minister’s post.

The SBSP contested the 2022 UP Assembly elections in alliance with SP, and won six seats.

Source: Press Trust of India

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