There will be no change in the government or party leadership in Uttar Pradesh, central BJP sources said today on speculation that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s job may be in trouble over his government’s Covid handling. However, there may be new faces in the cabinet, say the sources as the BJP strives to address public anger ahead of the UP polls next year.
Former bureaucrat AK Sharma, known to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s confidante, may be given an important role in the UP government, the sources say.
Yogi Adityanath will continue as Chief Minister and Swatantra Dev Singh as BJP’s UP president and the party will contest next year’s election under their leadership, the sources asserted, rubbishing talk that was reinforced by a two-day review meeting held by national BJP leaders in UP capital Lucknow.
But a cabinet expansion is likely this month and new faces are expected to be taken in with caste and regional equations in mind, sources say.
The decision was taken after the review by senior BJP leaders BL Santosh and Radha Mohan Singh, described as an “extensive feedback exercise” by party leaders.
Similar feedback was also received by the BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which has reportedly flagged concerns internally about the criticism and attacks on the UP government with just months to go for polls that will also have a bearing on the 2024 national election.
RSS General Secretary Dattatreya Hosbole had taken feedback during his trip to Lucknow and interaction with state BJP and RSS leaders.
It was based on Mr Hosbole’s feedback that the two BJP leaders were sent to Lucknow.
The team met with the Chief Minister, senior party leaders, ministers and MLAs and took their feedback on the functioning of the state government and the organization. They took the feedback to the central leadership.
Sources said it had been decided that for the sake of better coordination between the state government and the party organization, regular meetings would take place.
BJP president JP Nadda is likely to visit UP next month to oversee efforts to repair the party’s structure and functioning.
On record, however, BJP leaders maintain that the Yogi Adityanath government has done well in controlling the second surge of Covid.
“In five weeks, @myogiadityanath’s Uttar Pradesh reduced the new daily case count by 93%… Remember it’s a state with 20+ Cr population. When municipality CMs could not manage a city of 1.5Cr population, Yogiji managed quite effectively,” BL Santosh, the BJP’s national general secretary of organization, tweeted after his return from state capital Lucknow.
The UP government’s handling of infections was slammed on social media, especially when images of bodies floating in the Ganga river or buried in shallow graves beside it generated headlines in India and abroad.
There were reports of the party’s MLAs and MPs going public with their complaints against their own government.