After a fortnight of political turmoil and series of meetings in Lucknow, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Thursday. Yogi was expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president JP Nadda on Friday.
Yogi’s sudden two-day visit to the Capital and meeting with senior party leaders came amid a section of leaders, including law makers, criticizing the Uttar Pradesh government for its handling of Covid situation, which they claimed would have an impact on Assembly elections in 2022.
Before the CM’s visit to New Delhi, he had an almost two-hour long meeting with state BJP president Swatantra Dev Singh and state general secretary (organization) Sunil Bansal on Wednesday evening. Singh was in western UP and Bansal was in Varanasi and both were brought to Lucknow by special choppers.
Sources in the BJP claimed that the meeting was called to set right the caste equations in the UP government as well as in the party organization as complaints poured in about neglect of Backwards, Most Backwards and Brahmins in Yogi Raj. The assertion was confirmed as during the Yogi- Shah meet, Apna Dal (S) chief Anupriya Patel reached Shah’s residence but it was unclear whether the three had a joint meeting.
However, a senior Apna Dal leader confirmed to The Pioneer that Anupriya had a meeting with Yogi but was unsure whether Shah was present there. “Anupriya’s visit to Delhi was not planned. She was asked to reach the Home Minister’s house as the earliest,” he said but did not elaborate as to what are the demands of Apna Dal (S).
In the cabinet expansion of 2019, the inclusion of Anupriya Patel’s husband, Ashish Patel into the UP cabinet was much expected. Instead, the BJP’s own MLA from Madihan, Mirzapur, Ram Shankar Patel was included. Almost the same time Om Prakash Rajbhar of Suheldeo Bharatiya Samak Party (SBSP) left the NDA alliance but Apna Dal preferred to stay back.
“Meetings, be it in Delhi or in Lucknow, were aimed at setting the caste equations right. The Backwards and Most Backward Castes (MBCs) are the bulwark of any winning combination in UP because the voting percentage among upper castes is low. The BJP has been in power in UP for almost four and half years and at the Centre for almost seven years. The expansion of both the Union and UP government is possible where leaders of a particular caste could be accommodated to placate certain sections . It is the right time to set the house in order,” a senior BJP leader told this reporter.
Last week, senior BJP leader BK Santosh led a Central mission to Uttar Pradesh to take feedback and carry out a review after meeting ministers, MLAs, MPs and the two deputy Chief Ministers. This was probably the first time that a Central delegation had a one-on-one meeting with ministers. Earlier, Sar Sanghachalak (general secretary) of RSS Dattatreya Hosbole met with Sangh workers where he felt detachment of cadres and hence recommended the feedback session.
Earlier this week, BJP national general secretary and UP in-charge, Radha Mohan Singh had met Governor Anandiben Patel and Assembly Speaker Hridya Narain Dikshit sparking speculations about a cabinet expansion.