Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday expanded his ministry for the first time since taking office in March 2017 by inducting 23 ministers and promoting four ministers of state including Suresh Rana — an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.
Governor Anandiben Patel included six cabinet ministers, six ministers of state (independent charge) and 11 ministers of the state into the state government amid chants of Har Har Mahadev and Bharat Mata Ki Jai.
Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh assembly speaker Hridya Narain Dixit, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and senior administrative and police officers were present at the swearing-in ceremony. The strength of the ministry has now gone up to 56. Adityanath can have 60 ministers as per the rules.
The expansion followed resignations of five ministers and discussions between the BJP leaders and those of its ideological fountainhead, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, on Tuesday.
It was carried out to fill vacancies as well as to reward performances and maintain a regional and social balance in the ministry, according to people aware of developments.
Four ministers of state (independent charge) Mahendra Singh, Suresh Rana, Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary, and Anil Rajbhar have been given cabinet ranks.
New faces in the ministry include 10 from western Uttar Pradesh, five from the state’s east, two from the central part and one from the Bundelkhand region. Eight of them belong to Other Backward Classes, three are Dalits, five Brahmins, and three Vaishyas.
Rana said the BJP has a tradition of recognising the party men who work for the people’s welfare. “I am thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah, BJP working president JP Nadda and chief minister Yogi Adityanath for this [cabinet rank],” said Rana.
In May, vacancies in the ministry went up to 17 after three ministers Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Satyadev Pachauri and SPS Baghel were elected to Lok Sabha.