'How can you say such things? Just because he takes care of cows...'
On Monday, Shiv Pratap Shukla took charge as the minister of state for finance.
A former minister for prisons and education in Uttar Pradesh, the law graduate from Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University, began his political career as a student leader in the 1970s.
Before being elected to the Rajya Sabha last year, Shukla was an MLA for four consecutive terms.
'The induction of Shukla, a Rajya Sabha member who does not enjoy the best of equations with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynanath,' PTI reported on Sunday, 'is seen an attempt by the party to keep Brahmins, a faithful support base, in good humour.'
The minister briefly spoke with Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar on what the future holds for him.
You are known for your reforms in education and prisons in UP. What kind of reforms are you planning in the central government?
I went to my office for the first time yesterday.
I have to meet my senior minister Arun Jaitley and discuss with him all the matters in the ministry.
Once I know and understand all the issues I will think about reforms.
Do you feel you have received your due for all your hard work in the party?
My work in the sangathan has been there for all to see.
The honourable prime minister and party chief have seen that and given me this honour to work for the country.
It is due to hard work.
You have won the assembly elections four times. You could have easily won a Lok Sabha election, what are you doing in the Rajya Sabha?
I have never asked for a ticket to contest either the assembly election or the Lok Sabha polls.
The party asked me to contest the state elections and I did justice to their selection.
They did not ask me to contest the Lok Sabha elections. So I am in the Rajya Sabha because of the party's decision.
Gorakhpur is your home district. Children are dying there every day. Why?
I certainly know what is happening there. It has improved now after the intervention of the chief minister and the central health minister.
It is the atmosphere there at this time of the year. It is during this season that babies become critical every year.
They are doing their best and the situation will improve.
One month from now these deaths will stop. It is in the air at this time of the year.
The UP chief minister is being called the chief minister for cows. What would you say to this?
(Laughs loudly) How can you say such things? He is the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Just because he takes care of cows you cannot call him the chief minister of gau mata.