Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit two birds with one stone in Tuesday’s ministry expansion, as far as Uttar Pradesh is concerned. On the one hand, by dropping Minister of State for HRD Ram Shanker Katheria, he delivered a terse message to the fringe in the ruling party not to breach the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of discipline, on the other he also balanced the complex caste metric of Uttar Pradesh. By inducting Mahendra Nath Pandey, a senior leader from eastern UP, and Anupriya Patel, leader of the now-divided Apna Dal, Modi struck a balance.
A senior party leader confided that dropping of Katheria from the union council of ministers was a “clear cut” indication by Modi to leaders and workers not to be overzealous about issues like aggressive Hinduism. Inducting Anupriya is also seen as a message that the party was ready to walk the extra mile with alliance partners who have stood by the BJP in testing times. The Apna Dal has two MPs from the state.