Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath expanded his Cabinet on Sunday evening ahead of the Assembly elections in the state next year. Jitin Prasada, who switched from the Congress to the Bharatiya Janata Party in June, was among those inducted into the new Cabinet.

Six others Chatrapal Singh Gangwar, Paltu Ram, Sangeeta Balwant Bind, Sanjeev Kumar, Dinesh Khateek and Dharamveer Prajapati took oath as ministers of state at a ceremony in the Raj Bhavan.

Prasada reportedly wields a considerable influence among the Brahmins of Uttar Pradesh. He was inducted into the party and made a Cabinet minister amid concerns about the thin representation of the Brahmin community in the party.

Meanwhile, Gangwar is an MLA from Bahedi in Bareilly, Prajapati is an MLC from Agra, and Bind is a first-time MLA from Ghazipur Sadar. All three of them belong to Other Backward Class communities, NDTV reported.

“The BJP wants to take all communities with it,” Bind said. “There is no harm in furthering the interests of all communities.”

Among included in the new Cabinet, Khateek is an MLA from Hastinapur, Kumar is an MLA from Obra and Ram is an MLA from Balrampur Sadar. Khateek and Ram belong to the Scheduled Caste and Kumar is from the Scheduled Tribe community.

“I have worked in the BJP for a long time and we will follow the policy of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ [development for all, with everyone’s trust],” Khateek said.Dalits have voted for the BJP en masse and this trend is going to continue.”

Ram, who was earlier with the Bahujan Samaj Party, and Kumar are first-time MLAs.

With the expansion, the Cabinet has reached its upper limit of having 60 members in the ministry, reported PTI. The maximum strength of the ministry can be 15% of the total strength of the Assembly.

Last week, Adityanath had expressed confidence that the BJP would return to power in the state, reported NDTV.

“The perception about UP on the national stage has changed due to the united efforts of the people, the organisation, and the government,” he had said. “People’s confidence in governance has increased... this belief will ensure our victory in the 2022 elections with an overwhelming majority of 350 seats.”

In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 205 of the 403 seats, the Samajwadi Party and its allies won 54 and the Bahujan Samaj Party secured 19.