Yogi meets Shah in Delhi, to meet Modi & Nadda next as BJP worries about UP polls

Home Minister Amit Shah meets Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath in New Delhi on 10 June 2021 | Amit Shah | Twitter
Home Minister Amit Shah meets Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath in New Delhi on 10 June 2021 | Amit Shah | Twitter

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New Delhi: Amid the BJP reviewing UP’s handling of the Covid crisis and state governance, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met with Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi Thursday and is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President J.P. Nadda Friday.

Adityanath’s two-day visit comes days after BJP General Secretary B.L. Santhosh, who was in UP last month, presented his report which noted there was a lack of coordination between the BJP and the state government, and also a growing resentment among party workers about the party’s handling of the Covid crisis in the state, according to party sources.

Adityanath met Shah for almost one-and-a-half hours, and also met Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel who also met Shah, party sources added.

Speaking to ThePrint, a senior leader in the party said, “Meeting lasted one-and-a-half hours (in which) Shah conveyed the party’s concerns based on feedback given by B.L. Santhosh, and asked to fill the gaps. There is talk to take Anupriya Patel along. There are primarily three points the BJP high command discussed with Yogi based on B.L Santhosh’s feedback, which was drawn up after meeting more than 15 ministers and MLAs. Shah told Yogi to act on these concerns to ensure party is prepared for assembly election.”

Santhosh has been touring poll-bound states to review the BJP’s preparedness. UP goes to polls in 2022.

A series of meetings have been held in the past weeks in Lucknow, by Santhosh and RSS sarkaryavah (general secretary) Dattatreya Hosabale as well as BJP’s UP in-charge Radha Mohan Singh on the party’s affairs. Adityanath had termed such meetings as regular, and dismissed the speculation around it as media creation. Earlier this week, Mohan Singh dismissed talk of a cabinet reshuffle in the state, while last week, Santhosh also backed the CM’s Covid management, saying, “Yogi ji has managed quite effectively”.

Also read: Modi-BJP-RSS meeting was on ‘way to undo damage’ of Yogi govt’s Covid handling in UP

Panchayat polls problem, striking a caste balance

The senior BJP leader quoted above told ThePrint that the party high command has been concerned about UP since the last panchayat poll results. Considered a “semi-final before the assembly election”, the BJP’s performance in the panchayat polls “was not up to the mark”. More candidates backed by the Samajwadi Party had won the polls than the BJP’s, despite the latter being the ruling party in the state.

“This result highlighted anti-incumbency against (Adityanath) government. During the second Covid wave in April-May, party MLAs, ministers and MPs were helpless, and apprised BJP high command about the situation in the state. They said they couldn’t wholly depend on the UP government which claimed that everything is fine. BJP high command now wants effective and collective administration with caste balance,” the senior leader said.

Currently, Adityanath’s cabinet has three vacancies following the deaths of ministers Chetan Chauhan, Kamal Rani and Vijay Kashyap in the last one year. “Few more effective people should be given responsibility keeping in mind the possibility of a third Covid wave, which could upset the whole election arithmetic,” said the party leader quoted above.

According to party sources, the inclusion of a former IAS officer and close aide of the PM, A.K. Sharma, in the cabinet is also a bone of contention for the CM.

“Yogi was not very enthusiastic initially about his [Sharma’s] inclusion and his close aide hinted there is no need of [cabinet] reshuffle. The BJP leadership wants to placate the Patel faction by also keeping the caste equation in balance. Few days ago, Patel met UP BJP President Swantradev Singh in Lucknow. The [party] leadership can’t risk solely depending on Yogi for a BJP government to return,” said the party leader.

According to a second party leader, the 2017 UP assembly election victory was a result of Shah’s caste coalitions and Modi’s popularity. “Now, if the perception is that it is a Thakur sarkar, it needs to be corrected. And keeping in mind anti-incumbency, we should be more careful in maintaining caste coalition and effective governance,” the leader added.

Just a day ago, the BJP inducted former Congress leader Jitin Prasada, sending out a signal that the BJP wants participation of Brahmins, who constitute 12 per cent of the state’s population, in governance.

The second leader quoted above told ThePrint that the BJP is also taking note of complaints by several ministers who said they were helpless during the second Covid wave since administrative officials such as district magistrates did not pay heed to calls from MLAs, MPs and ministers seeking oxygen and hospital beds. The lack of support during the second wave has caused some disgruntlement among party workers.

“Forget the common man, even party workers are not happy [with Yogi government] … they complained that it is the bureaucracy that runs the government; there is no say of MLAs and ministers. The DM obeys Lucknow orders only. In an effective government model, this works, but will backfire if there are pitfalls in governance,” the party functionary said.

(Edited by Manasa Mohan)

Also read: BJP leaders blame Covid anger against Yogi govt for poor poll show but say it won’t hurt 2022


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