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Buzz of rejig in Lucknow and Delhi as Yogi Adityanath meets Amit Shah

The Times of India logo The Times of India 1 day ago Akhilesh Singh
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NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath arrived in Delhi on Thursday for consultations with the BJP leadership on preparations for the assembly elections scheduled early next year. Yogi, who met Amit Shah on Thursday, is scheduled to meet PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief J P Nadda on Saturday as part of an exercise which might involve expansion of the UP government and increased representation for the state in the Union council of ministers when it is expanded.

Anupriya Patel, leader of BJP ally Apna Dal, joined Shah and Yogi for the deliberations at the home minister's residence, intensifying the buzz about a likely reconfiguration of ministries in Lucknow and at the Centre.

Patel, a junior minister in the first Modi government, failed to find a place in the PM's second team. Apna Dal, a party which has OBC Kurmis as its mainstay, has been keen on her return as well as enhanced representation in the state government. BJP, sources in the party said, has decided to stick with with Adityanath.

Yet, his arrival in the national Capital once again reignited speculation about an imminent leadership change in UP, perplexing the party brass.

READ ALSO: Is BJP under Yogi ready for 2022 polls?

Senior saffron figures are intrigued by the persistence of the buzz about the possibility of Adityanath being asked to make way for a colleague even when the leadership has sent out signals ruling out any change.

BJP general secretary in charge of organisation B L Santhosh had earlier praised the Adityanath government for tacking the second wave of Covid infections, in what was seen as a clear signal to opponents outside and dissidents within about the leadership’s intent.

The statement came against the backdrop of intense talk in certain quarters about an “imminent” change. While that should have, in ordinary circumstances, quelled the chatter, suggestion that a change was in the offing persisted.

READ ALSO: In UP poll run-up, BJP to ride nationalist zeal, takes leaf out of Didi’s emotional poll pitch

Significantly, Modi, while addressing health workers in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi, had highlighted Adityanath’s success in taming encephalitis, endemic to eastern UP and the bordering regions of Bihar and Nepal, as an example of what could be achieved by a leadership which is cleareyed and focused on objectives.

Sources also said irrespective of how Adityanath was rated, the proximity of polls negated the chance of somebody being put at the helm now. “Only six months are left for the poll drill to begin. The party has to focus on planning the roadmap. Rumours about leadership change are baseless,” a senior BJP functionary told TOI.

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