Yogi Adityanath, who started with a bang as Uttar Pradesh chief minister on March 19, completes two months in office this week, with certain law and order incidents threatening to eclipse his achievements and posing a challenge before his government in the days to come. Adityanath will be coming out with his 100-day achievement document in June-end and will certainly not want his hits to be outnumbered by misses, say political observers.
“The change has started to show in UP since the Yogi government took charge. Well-meaning people are feeling relieved with the closure of illegal slaughterhouses. With the constitution of anti-Romeo squads, anti-social elements harassing women and girls are now in fear. “Rowdyism is dying and crime percentages are falling. People’s confidence in the government has been restored,” the state BJP had said in its political resolution at its recent working committee meeting here.
But, on the ground, certain recent incidents like caste clash in Saharanpur and communal violence in Bulandshahr, Sambhal and Gonda gave the law enforcing authorities sleepless nights. The BJP came to power in UP on the plank of improving law and order, terming the erstwhile Samajwadi Party rule as ‘goondaraj’.
In Bulandshahr, members of the Adityanath-founded Hindu Yuva Vahini are alleged to be behind the murder of an aged Muslim man after a ‘love-jihad’-style elopement.The Bulandshahr incident took place even as Adityanath met senior Yuva Vahini workers during a visit to Gorakhpur and warned them to not take law in their own hands.
The attack on Saharanpur senior superintendent of police’s residence by BJP activists, allegedly under the leadership of local MP Raghav Lakhanpal, hogged newspaper headlines and even before the controversy ended, caste violence broke out there involving Dalits and Thakurs.
An upper caste man was killed, triggering violence, arson and torching of Dalit homes. Four persons were injured in Gonda district and some vehicles damaged following a clash between people belonging to two communities, while in Sambhal tension prevailed in a village after some people created a ruckus, claiming that a man had eloped with a married woman from another faith. These incidents gave ample opportunity to Samajwadi Party to pillory the newly-elected BJP government on the law and order front.
“We were termed the goonda party. Now, what is happening under Yogi ji? Will he act?” former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav asked. Perturbed over the sudden spurt in crime and violence involving different castes and communities, the chief minister has decided to set up a special cell in his office to monitor crime.
“A special cell will be constituted in CM’s office for crime monitoring, which will be done personally by the chief minister,” senior UP cabinet minister Shrikant Sharma said. Refuting Samajwadi Party’s criticism of the law and order situation in the BJP regime, he said, “Those SP leaders, who have carried criminals and rapists with them in their cars, should introspect.”
Ever since Yogi, the 44-year-old saffron clad priest- turned-politician, took over the reins of the state, the bureaucracy is constantly on its toes. Almost literally. It is an unusual sight to see that the parking lot at the secretariat building here gets full even before the clock strikes 9:25 am.
Adityanath has proved himself to be a tough taskmaster, holding back-to-back meetings with his ministers and bureaucrats well past midnight, only to return to office the next morning before 9.30 am. For almost a month, some 80-odd presentations were made by as many departments before the CM, with top bureaucrats literally burning their midnight oil.
There have been at least six significant measures the new government has announced so far, starting with the Rs 36,500 crore loan waiver for farmers. At the BJP working committee meeting, Adityanath specifically praised cane development minister Suresh Rana for his efforts to clear Rs 5,558 crore of sugarcane dues of farmers within 40 days.
A group of ministers constituted by the CM has submitted a report on a new mining policy and clamping down on illegal mining, which is a major problem in UP. A portal being started under the chief minister’s office to allow people to complain about illegal land grab could be a game-changer, too.
The ‘Power for All’ agreement, signed by the Yogi government with the Centre, promises to provide electricity around the clock to district headquarters and 18 hours a day to all villages. “The erstwhile governments only pushed UP into darkness, providing power to just certain VIP districts or towns,” noted BJP general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak.
“What he (Adityanath) has done in 50 days, the earlier CM did in a year’s time,” he said.
Another key decision was making transfers and postings of bureaucrats merit-based and free from extraneous pressures — as reflected in the wide-scale transfers done by the Adityanath government. “In the erstwhile government, transfers had become an industry. Now, honest and talented officers are getting respectable posts,” another BJP leader said.