Prabhat Ranjan Deen
LUCKNOW, Mar 25: Yogi Adityanath today took oath as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister for a second term at a ceremony where 52 others were sworn in as Ministers, as PM Narendra Modi watched the proceedings marking the BJP’s triumphant return to power in the State.
Keshav Prasad Maurya, who failed to win his seat in the Assembly polls, is a deputy CM again. Brajesh Pathak too is a Deputy Chief Minister, replacing Dinesh Sharma in the outgoing Adityanath cabinet.
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The ceremony at a Lucknow stadium that can hold 50,000 people was designed to be a mega event, attended by top Union Ministers, Chief Ministers from BJP-run States and dignitaries from the world of industry and entertainment.
A festive atmosphere prevailed at Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana stadium. Enthusiastic BJP supporters chanted “Modi, Modi” during event.
Apart from the Chief Minister, 18 Cabinet Ministers — including the two Deputy CMs — 14 Ministers of State (Independent Charge) and 20 other Ministers of State were administered the oath by Governor Anandiben Patel.
As the event progressed, the oath was administered to two and even four Ministers of State in each go to save time.
Besides Modi, the ceremony was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP national president J P Nadda.
Apart from the CMs of BJP-run State, Bihar Chief Minister and JDU leader Nitish Kumar attended the ceremony as an NDA partner.
There was much speculation over the possible return of Keshav Prasad Maurya as a Deputy CM. He had lost the Assembly election from his native Sirathu seat.
But after the repeat of Pushkar Singh Dhami as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand for the second term despite losing from his own constituency, it appeared that the party might also favour the influential Other Backward Class leader in UP.
Former Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya, who too was counted among the frontrunners for the Deputy CMs post, gets a cabinet berth.
So do BJP State unit president Swatantra Dev Singh, former IAS officer A K Sharma. Finance Minister Suresh Khanna is back.
Jitin Prasada, who had quit the Congress to join the BJP ahead of the polls, made it to the State Cabinet.
On Twitter, PM Modi congratulated Adityanath and expressed confidence that his Government in its fresh term will write another chapter of progress in Uttar Pradesh while fulfilling the people’s aspirations.
The BJP-led alliance had won 273 of 403 seats in the UP Assembly polls. While the BJP got 255 seats, its allies Nishad Party and the Apna Dal (S) bagged 18.
This is the first time in over three decades that a party has won the assembly elections twice in a row in the crucial state, a feat that BJP leaders feel brightens the chances of its return to power in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections as well.
There can be a maximum of 60 ministers including the chief minister in Uttar Pradesh under the constitutional provisions.
BJP ally Ashish Patel of Apna Dal (Sonelal) and Nishad Party chief Sanjay Nishad also took the oath as Cabinet Ministers.
In the earlier Government, Apna Dal (S) had one member with the MoS rank.
Danish Azad Ansari has been made a Minister of State. He is the lone Muslim face in the Adityanath Government.
Hailing from Balia, Azad has replaced Mohsin Raza as the representative of the minority community in the Adityanath 2.0 Government. He is not a member of the state assembly or the legislative council at present.
Former IPS officer Aseem Arun, Daya Shankar Singh, Nitin Agarwal and Kalyan Singh’s grandson Sandip Singh have been made Ministers of State (independent charge).
Several prominent members of the outgoing UP ministry do not find a berth in the new government.
Apart from former Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma, these include Satish Mahana, Ramapati Shastri, Siddarth Nath Singh and Srikant Sharma.
There is speculation that either Mahana or Shastri could get Assembly Speaker’s post. Both are eight-time MLAs.
Shastri was appointed the pro-tem speaker by the Governor for administering the oaths to the new MLAs.
Some other names doing the rounds in political circles also did not figure in the list of Ministers.
They include former Enforcement Directorate officer Rajeshwar Singh, Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav and Aditi Singh, who had switched over from the Congress to the BJP and won the Rae Bareli seat.
Excited BJP supporters had started thronging the venue after its gates were opened at 11 am, hours before the ceremony was to begin.