The Akhilesh Yadav cabinet in Uttar Pradesh will be expanded for the fourth time later on Saturday, official sources said. The opposition slammed the expansion move, terming it a futile exercise.
The oath taking ceremony will be held at the Raj Bhavan and Governor B.L. Joshi is likely to swear in one minister, since only a lone vacancy exists.
According to sources, a Muslim face is likely to find entry into the Samajwadi Party (SP) government and two ministers might be promoted as ministers of state with independent charge or as full fledged cabinet ministers.
“This is likely to be the last expansion before the Lok Sabha polls scheduled some time this year and the SP leadership will try to rejig the cabinet and accommodate regional aspirations and caste balances,” a senior SP leader told IANS.
He added that since the ‘cap’ on the number of ministers does not give Akhilesh much room to accommodate other aspirants, some will be promoted.
The Bharatiya Janata Party lashed out at the government’s cabinet expansion plans and suggested that the chief minister should first set the existing cabinet in order.
“This is a farcical exercise. The chief minister must first take the existing ministers to task and let there be some semblance of governance in the state,” said Vijay Bahadur Pathak, state spokesman of the BJP.
Mr. Pathak added that so far the worst critics of the state government have been SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav.
“Other than public rebuke to the chief minister and painting his government in a bad light what have the seniors of the Yadav clan done to rectify the problems,” Mr. Pathak said.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also termed the expansion a “futile exercise of a government that is presiding over anarchy”.
A senior BSP leader said that while it was the prerogative of any government to expand the cabinet, the fact that the existing ministers were not doing anything was worrying.