New Delhi: The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh cabinet is younger than its 2017 version, with the average age reducing from 55 years to 53 this time.
In the 52-member cabinet, the youngest minister is 30-year-old Sandeep Singh, grandson of former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh. Sandeep Singh won from his grandfather’s traditional seat of Atrauli in the recently held state assembly elections. Among the oldest ministers in the new cabinet is Dr Arun Kumar Saxena, a 70-year-old doctor who has won from Bareilly for the third time.
According to data released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), among the 52 cabinet members, there are 36 ministers who are aged between 40 to 60 years, 16 are between 40 to 50 years, while 12 ministers are over 60 years of age.
“It is a ministry where experience and age both have found place. Experienced faces will drive growth, young faces will be groomed as future leaders of the community. Young leaders of different castes have found place in the ministry as Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested that they be groomed keeping future leadership in mind,” a BJP leader who did not wish to be named told ThePrint.
Another senior BJP functionary said some experienced faces had been removed due to “non-performance”.
“A few experienced faces like Ashutosh Tandon and Satish Mahana were removed due to non-performance. Jai Pratap Singh, health minister, became scapegoat for Covid mismanagement. This time, distribution of portfolios will be done more efficiently to adjust experience and age,” the functionary told ThePrint.
While the average age of UP’s BJP MLAs is 52.7 years, the Samajwadi Party’s oldest MLA, Alambadi Azmi, who won from Nizamabad in Azamgarh, is 86. Its youngest MLAs are Ankit Bharti and Rahul Rajput, who are both 25.
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Sandeep Singh, who is only 30 years old, has been appointed a minister of state (independent charge). He was an MoS in the 2017 UP cabinet too. In 2017, he was just 26 when he won from his grandfather’s home turf Atrauli.
Danish Azad Ansari, 32, the lone Muslim face of the party, has been made minister of state for minority affairs. Once a member of RSS’ student affiliate Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), he was made general secretary of the UP BJP’s Minority Morcha. In 2018, he was made a member of the Urdu Language Committee under the previous Adityanath government.
Ansari has become minister without being a member of the legislative assembly or legislative council. An OBC Muslim, he is being groomed to build ground among the Ansari community in Mau and Ballia regions to counter the influence of former BSP MLA from Mau and jailed gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, BJP sources told ThePrint.
Nitin Agrawal, 40, a third-term MLA from Hardoi and son of former state minister Naresh Agrawal, has been appointed MoS with independent charge. Satish Chandra Sharma, who won from Dariyabad, is 39 years old and has been appointed minister of state. Sharma is a first-time minister while Nitin was deputy speaker in assembly.
Somendra Tomar, who has entered the cabinet as the Gujjar face, replacing Ashok Katariya of Bijnor, has been made a minister of state. The 41-year-old represents Meerut South constituency. Ashish Singh Patel of Apna Dal (Sonelal) and husband of Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Anupriya Patel, appointed cabinet minister, is 38 years old.
Anoop Pradhan Valmiki, 40, who won from Aligarh seat, has been made minister of state. The only Valmiki MLA in cabinet, he has retained his seat in a Jat dominated area despite Jat anger against the BJP over the now repealed farm laws and sugarcane price dues.
Minister of State Sanjeev Kumar Gond, the lone Scheduled Tribes (ST) MLA who represents the Obra (reserved) constituency, is 46, while 45-year-old Dinesh Khatik, who defeated Congress candidate Archana Gautam, also known as ‘bikini girl’, in Hastinapur, has been retained in cabinet as a minister of state.
Sanjay Singh Gangwar is another young Kurmi face of BJP who won from Pillibhit. The 47-year-old, who started his political career from Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), has been appointed minister of state. Cabinet minister Jitin Prasada, a Brahmin face and son of veteran Congress leader Jitendra Prasada, is 48 years old.
In the 2017 cabinet, Chetan Chauhan was one of the oldest ministers at around 70 years of age. In the new Yogi cabinet, Bareilly MLA Dr Arun Kumar Saxena (MoS independent charge), Jat face Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary (cabinet minister) and former BJP president Surya Pratap Shahi (cabinet minister) are the eldest, aged around 70 years.
Cabinet minister Suresh Khanna, who one his seat for the ninth time from Shahajahampur, is one of most experienced faces in the new group of ministers. The 68-year-old was finance and parliamentary affairs minister in the Yogi 2017 cabinet, while Dharmpal Singh is 69 years old.
Cabinet minister Rakesh Sachan, a Kurmi face who joined the BJP just before elections, is 66 years old. Baby Rani Mourya (cabinet), and Gulab Devi are both 65 (MoS independent charge). Cabinet minister Jaiveer Singh, a former BSP minister, is 61 while Dharamveer Prajapati (MoS independent charge) is 65.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)
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