Beyond Metros, Uttar Pradesh

Akhilesh Yadav expands UP Cabinet, inducts new faces ahead polls

Ahead of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2017, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday inducted three Cabinet ministers and two ministers of state in his Cabinet. Recently axed minister Balram Singh Yadav, along with Narad Rai and Ziauddin Rizve has been inducted as cabinet ministers.

It is the seventh time that Akhilesh Yadav made changes in his cabinet and probably it is the last reshuffle after the Samajwadi Party (SP) came to power in the state in March 2012.

Former state minister Balram Yadav, who was recently sacked for his role in the merger of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal (QED) with the SP, was also re-inducted into the cabinet.

It is being assumed that the SP parliamentary board’s decision to call off the merger made way for his re-induction in the Cabinet ministry. On Saturday, the SP had revoked its merger with QED. The merger of the two parties was declared on June 21 by SP spokesperson and senior cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav, who is the brother of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

SP leader Narad Rai, who was removed in 2015 as part of a revamping exercise, was also inducted into the cabinet on Monday. Lucknow Central MLA Ravidas Mehrotra, Sarojini Nagar MLA Sharada Pratap Shukla and Sikandarpur (Ballia) MLA Mohammed Ziauddin Rizvi are the new faces in the ministry.

Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers at a ceremony at Gandhi Sabhagar of Raj Bhawan.  However, Rizvi was absent at the event and could not take the oath as well as senior cabinet minister Shivpal Singh Yadav skipped the ceremony.

The last cabinet expansion took place in October in 2015, which was the biggest under the present chief minister. In last year inductions, 12 new faces were inducted into the ministry and portfolios of nine ministers were changed.

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