The visit is politically significant as Uttar Pradesh will be going into polls in 2022 and the party is expected to take all steps necessary to retain the state
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is on a two-day visit to the National Capital where he is set to meet top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has already met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence and is expected to meet Modi on Friday.
According to PTI, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister is also expected to meet the top brass of the party, including party chief JP Nadda.
Adityanath’s Delhi visit comes amidst murmurs of discontent within the saffron party in the state, particularly over Adityanath’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are five developments in the last week that may have led to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s visit to Delhi.
1. Jitin Prasada’s exit from Congress
Adityanath’s visit to Delhi comes a day after Jitin Prasada, a former Congress leader who comes from a well-known Brahmin family of Uttar Pradesh, left the party and joined the BJP.
According to NDTV, Prasada is expected to play a key role in the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh reset ahead of the state election, especially in correcting the optics of a government perceived by a section of the state’s Brahmins as being pro-Thakur, a cast which Adityanath belongs to. However, the jury is still out on the former Congress leader’s impact on the Brahmin vote bank in the state.
2. UP to go to polls in 2022
The visit is also assumed to be politically significant as Uttar Pradesh will be going into polls in 2022 and the party is expected to take all steps necessary to retain the state.
Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in 2022 and there have been speculations about a reshuffle in the state Cabine. According to reports, AK Sharma, an ex-bureaucrat who retired to join BJP in Uttar Pradesh earlier this year, may be given some major responsibilities in the state Cabinet.
3. Criticism over Adityanath’s handing of COVID-19
There has been mounting criticism over Adityanath’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state and the lack of coordination between his government and BJP MLAs and MPs.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath arrives in Delhi. He is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/FhXPpqL6dk
— ANI (@ANI) June 10, 2021
This will Adityanath’s first face-to-face meeting with central leadership since a turmoil began in the Uttar Pradesh BJP unit over the chief minister’s handling of the coronavirus situation in the second wave.
Many members of the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh came forward, publically questioning Adityanath’s handling of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
On 9 May, Union Labour minister Santosh Gangwar complained to the chief minister about the situation in his Bareilly constituency, saying officials don’t take calls and government health centres send back patients for ‘referrals’ from the district hospital.
In a letter to Adityanath, the Union minister also complained about the “big shortage” of empty oxygen cylinders and the high prices of medical equipment in Bareilly.
A day later, BJP MLA from Jasrana in Firozabad Ramgopal Lodhi claimed that his coronavirus positive wife was not admitted to an Agra hospital for over three hours, with officials saying that beds were not available.
The upset MLA posted a video clip with his complaint on social media, causing embarrassment to the Uttar Pradesh government. Lodhi claimed that his wife was not given medicines and water on time.
In April, a “confidential” letter written by UP Law Minister Brajesh Pathak surfaced on social media. Pathak had lashed out at his state’s health authorities, complaining that beds for coronavirus patients were falling short and ambulances took hours to arrive in the state capital.
The minister did not reject the authenticity of the letter, which appeared to challenge the UP government’s claim that it is on top of the situation. “I had written a confidential letter to the government,” he had told PTI, declining to share its contents.
However, last week, BJP Vice President Radha Mohan Singh applauded the work done by the UP government in managing the COVID-19 situation, saying it has been “unparalleled”.
4. Friction within state unit
For the past few days, there have been reports of friction within the state unit which were escalated to the Centre. BJP general secretary organisation BL Santhosh’s recent visit to the state has raised eyebrows as well. Santhosh met with party leaders and ministers to hear their concerns as the state prepares for the 2022 Assembly elections.
Santhosh was in Lucknow for three days, gathering feedback on the state government and the party’s preparations for the upcoming Assembly elections. Although BJP officials called it part of a review exercise on the functioning of the party, it had created a buzz on possible changes in the party organisation as well as the government.
However, as per Hindustan Times, the central leadership has ruled out any change in state leadership, throwing their weight behind the Adityanath administration.
The BJP central leadership had also ruled out any change in the organisational structure of the party and said any change to the council of ministers would be carried out following consultation with the chief minister.
5. BJP continues stocktaking ahead of UP polls
With elections due next year, the BJP has decided to strengthen the party in the state by seeking feedback from its leaders in the wake of the outcome of panchayat polls, as per ANI.
The party has also decided to prepare a strategy based on feedback received from its state leaders and ministers in the Adityanath government, strengthen the image of the state government and resolve the issues in the state.
These efforts are also aimed at improving the coordination between the party and the government. During his visit, Santhosh held one-on-one meetings with some of the ministers and leaders in the poll-bound state. He was accompanied by Radha Mohan Singh.
Many of these leaders had flagged issues like COVID-19 handling, disenchantment among people and lack of coordination between government and party leaders, among others.
With inputs from agencies