New Union ministers to tour 212 LS constituencies

Ahead of Assembly polls, BJP’s Jan Ashirwad yatra to underline caste, gender inclusive cabinet

Newly sworn in ministers in the Narendra Modi government and those elevated to Cabinet status will be covering 212 Lok Sabha constituencies and travel over 19,567 kms in what is being termed as a “Jan Ashirwad” (People’s Blessing) yatra to be organised by the BJP from August 16.

Prime Minister Modi was unable to introduce his Council of Ministers to Parliament at the start of the monsoon session as is customary because of the Opposition’s protests on the Pegasus snooping scandal and the three contentious farm laws. At that time Mr. Modi had decried the fact that his newly inducted ministers, who hailed majorly from marginalised communities, were not being given the usual courtesies by the Opposition.

Soon after that, the BJP decided that a “Jan Ashirwad yatra” to “introduce” these ministers directly to the people would be undertaken. According to party sources, a schedule has been drawn up for each minister and the area he or she will have to cover.

“For example in western Uttar Pradesh seats, we will have B.L. Verma, S.P. Singh Baghel, in Kanpur Bhanu Pratap Verma, in Awadh Ajay Mishra and Kaushal Kishore, Kashi area will have NDA ally Anupriya Patel, Gorakhpur will have a yatra by Pankaj Choudhary,” said a source.

The idea is to raise a buzz around the fact that the new Council of Ministers has 27 ministers, 12 belonging to Scheduled Caste category, eight from tribal communities and 11 women, and that these ministers were not accorded even the usual courtesies by the Opposition.

The party also hopes that with upcoming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh where the caste calculus is delicately poised, the ministerial appointments and identity issues will get a boost in public perception.

In all the party has asked every new minister to cover three Lok Sabha seats and four districts in the States they hail from. The exercise will cover 19 States and 265 districts.

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