Rajesh Agarwal, an old hand of the RSS, was the first finance minister of BJP in last over two decades to have presented three consecutive budgets in UP Assembly.
Agarwal (75) has officially resigned on health grounds and due to old age. The age bar norm was set by the BJP’s central leadership after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister for the first time in 2014.
The Finance Minister was said to be at loggerheads with the Principal Secretary (Finance). Officers and employees of the department had also petitioned the Chief Minister alleging that there was rampant interference by the minister in transfers and postings. They had also alleged irregularities by the minister.
Agarwal has been the member of UP Assembly for the last 26 years. Agarwal has been six-term MLA from Bareilly since 1993 election and won every election till 2017 Assembly polls. He has the distinction of never losing any assembly election.
He served as the Deputy Speaker of UP Assembly during the regime of Mulayam Singh Yadav from 2003 to 2007. During the Mayawati-led BSP-BJP coalition regime, he was the minister for stamps and registration in 2002-03.
He was the only minister in the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet who also held the charge as treasurer of the state organisation of BJP, which is against the established principal of the party’s ‘one man, one post’.
Agarwal was chosen by the BJP to contest 1993 mid-term poll to UP Assembly from Bareilly Cantonment seat following the expulsion of Dr Dinesh Jauhari, senior BJP leader from Bareilly.
Jauhari was the health minister in the first BJP government headed by Kalyan Singh in 1991-92. He was expelled from the Cabinet as he was embroiled in a controversy over transfers and postings of doctors in the department.