Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 11
Amid reports of dissent in state BJP and speculation of a rejig of the Cabinet to balance crucial caste equations in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sources say after his meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday, Adityanath also met Jitin Prasada, the former Congress leader of UP who on Wednesday marked an entry into the saffron party.
Though leaders close to Adityanath insisted that it was a normal meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss “the current situation in the state, including future course of management of the Covid-19,” much is being read into the development.
This was the first time Adityanath met the PM in person since political turmoil hit the state BJP along with the second wave of the Covid-19. Apart from reports of “differences” between Adityanath and the PM over the induction of former Gujarat-cadre IAS officer Arvind Kumar Sharma in the UP Cabinet, there are some other issues as well.
Sources say the leadership is also upset over the way the high-profile Chief Minister had been managing the BJP’s affairs in the state and the way he has been doing his public outreach “without giving due prominence to the PM”. Interestingly, much was read into why the PM did not wish Adityanath publicly on his birthday a couple of days back.
The sources claim the discussion revolved around preparations for the Assembly polls next year and possible Cabinet expansion or reshuffle in the state. BJP’s performance in recent panchayat polls was also discussed. Many in the state BJP has been openly critical of Adityanath over “mishandling” of the second wave of the Covid pandemic and have also voiced concern to the top leadership over the impact people’s anger may have on polls next year.
Apart from accusations of “mismanagement” and the anti-incumbency factor, Yogi Adityanath is also facing allegations of “favouring” the Thakur community at the cost of Brahmins. Sharma and Prasada are believed to be part of the BJP’s re-boot plan to gain the favour of the community. The buzz is that PM may also induct some state leaders in his Cabinet to assuage the feelings of the powerful Brahmin lobby of eastern parts and control the damage.