Yogi Adiyanath on March 25 was sworn in for the second time as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister at the sprawling Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium in Lucknow. The party won the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections with a large majority. The party has included five women ministers in Adityanath’s new cabinet. They are – Baby Rani Maurya, Gulab Devi, Pratibha Shukla, Rajni Tiwari and Vijay Laxmi Gautam. Adityanath’s first cabinet in 2017 also had 5 female ministers.
The 59-year-old Vijay Laxmi Gautam is a resident of Deoria city and has a master’s degree in Sociology. The Minister’s occupation is reportedly listed as a businesswoman in her documents; she owns a shop in Deoria city. Reportedly, the Minister is married to a bank professional and they have three kids together. Her sons are engineering students and her daughter is married. Reportedly, the Minister has a criminal case registered against her; she was accused of threatening someone.
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Gautam started her political career with BJP in the year 1992 and has slowly risen through the ranks. The newly inducted Minister since the beginning of her political career has spearheaded various divisions of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the city. She was the leader of the women’s wing of BJP in Deoria city and then later assumed the position of the zonal in-charge. Gautam had also assumed the post of Member of Legislative Assembly from Gorakhpur.
Since 2009, the Salempur constituency was reserved for the Scheduled Caste candidate. The BJP filed her candidacy from Salempur for the first time in 2012. Gautam, however, lost to Samajwadi Party’s candidate Manbodh in 2012.
Because her candidacy was cancelled by the BJP, Gautam defected to Samajwadi Party and fought elections from the Salempur constituency. However, the losing streak followed her and she lost the 2017 assembly election to BJP’s candidate Kali Prasad.
The Minister, however, returned to the BJP ahead of the assembly polls of 2022. The party cancelled Kali Prasad’s candidacy and named Gautam as the BJP candidate. She contested the election from the Salempur constituency and the following candidates were contesting against her: Manbodh Prasad (SBSPA), Rajesh Bharti (BSP), Dulari Devi (INC) and others and she emerged victorious this time.