The recast of the council of ministers has seen Uttar Pradesh end up with 15 members, with inclusions keeping in mind the upcoming assembly polls in the state which is crucial to BJP’s fortunes and will be seen as a bellwether result ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha poll. While Kurmis have been duly represented, a reshuffle of the Yogi ministry is also expected and some of the regional parties like the Nishad outfit and leaders from Rajbhar community are likely to bag berths. The ouster of Santosh Gangwar, who was junior minister with independent charge for labour, is a clear indication that state leaders will need to rally behind Yogi and accept him as leader.
Similarly in Karnataka, the entry and elevation of Shobha Karandlaje and the exit of senior party leader Sadanand Gowda is yet another message that the party is in no mood to replace Yeddyurappa as its face in the state. Seen as an effective and fiesty leader, her selection is a snub to the campaign to unsettle Yesdyurappa. This has not been entertained by the party high command and dissenters were told that the performance of the state government has been satisfactory. Obviously their misgivings over the role of the CM’s son Vijayendra have not cut ice.
Even in Maharashtra and Gujarat the BJP brass has tread cautiously with a longterm plan. Narayan Rane’s presence as a Cabinet minster is a strong message to Shiv Sena that BJP in future is readying itself to contest the polls on its own. A Konkan stalwart, Rane has been in direct confrontation with Shiv Sena, which has a strong presence in the region.
The elevation of Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala, both belonging to decisive Patidar community, is also seen in the light of the state assembly polls in Gujarat which will be due late next year. Patidar agitation had made it a tough battle for BJP in 2017 assembly polls as the saffron party won narrowly in the home state of Modi and Shah.
Watch RS Prasad to Javadekar to Babul Supriyo: The high-profile ministers who quit before Modi’s Cabinet reshuffle