After its election in March, one of the many things that the BJP government said during its election campaign was to make the roads of UP pothole-free by June 15. A farm-loan waiver, transparency in government contracts law and order and cleanliness were many things that were promised by the government. It also projected an image that the state will put in stern steps to ensure the UP becomes a state that evokes fear. Abolishing crime and criminals and no more killing of cows or loitering by boys in public spaces near girls; were also a few things that were promised by the newly formed government in UP. But eight months later, the state is yet to make most of it happen while the disallowing state is making itself heard. But, Yogi Adityanath is the first chief minister from Uttar Pradesh to invest time and energy to civic polls.
Vijay Bahadur Pathak, state BJP general secretary said that they appreciate the power they have now. “We are in power in UP after a long time”, says Pathak. He also added, “We take these polls seriously.” But there is a sense of responsibility under the BJP hood, and for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh’s civic polls, the governing party must work hard to make it evoke trust among its peer and the people of UP to make them win in the civic body elections. As reported by the Indian Express, these are the top five key takeaway that the UP government should work on in order to clinch victory in the state’s civic polls.
1. 82.35 per cent of the known roads have been made pothole-free and the remaining is expected to be completed by March 2018. But the government’s claim of 82.35 percent of pothole-free roads raises queries. One of the busiest roads, a 3-km stretch from Dr H N Singh Chauraha to Tarang flyover via Harahwa Phatak railway crossing has more pothole than road.
2. PM Narendra Modi’s Swachch Bharat is yet to make its presence felt in the state. In Khanupur on the outskirts of Muzaffarnagar, the pond is filled with silt which was last cleaned when Mayawati was in power. People depend for drinking water on “campers” which are privately delivered to doorsteps, at 4 am daily.
3. On the issue of encounters, the Chief Minister has set the tone. “Goli ka jawab goli se”, he said and reiterated his government’s resolve to despatch criminals to “Yamraj ka ghar” in the campaign for the civic polls. During the first six months of Yogi’s administration — a police officer from Lucknow says congratulatory messages to his office describe it as “thoki raj”, as in 18 “criminals” were shot dead in encounters. But it wasn’t until September, that the number climbed to 23. Such a number is not a large number for a state like UP but the new thing is the unabashed way in which the state government owns them.
4. The farm loan waiver has created a lot of stir, and is — among the large numbers of landless agricultural workers and smaller farmers not in a position to take bank loans, and in the better-off farmers who paid off most of their debt but are also in distress because of costly inputs and trailing minimum support prices.
5. The encounter is not a new strategy for Uttar Pradesh but the anti-Romeo squad is very new and unique to the state. As a part of the BJP manifesto, it was created by administrative order in thanas across the state within days of the government came in power. The first reports came in of the anti-Romeo squad drafting vigilantes, beating up young couples in parks. Later the guidelines were spelt out; its legality has also been challenged in court. In the all-women Raqabganj police station in Faizabad, which incidentally doesn’t have a functioning toilet but has the famous anti-Romeo squad, Constable Neelam Dubey describes, “If I see boys standing outside a girls’ school or in the park, I walk up to them and ask: Why are you here? Do you have any work? Is any girl here your sister? If the girl says he is my friend, we ask her to show proof. We ask for her home number, call a family member, a guardian.”