Since he took over as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh on March 19, 2017, Yogi Adityanath has unleashed a storm of decisions. It has earned him the sobriquet of Disrupter-in-Chief. He is breaking the pattern of living a life in UP. In the process, he could be re-building himself.
In his first cabinet meeting on Tuesday, roughly two weeks after taking oath, the five-time Gorakhpur MP began his duty in earnest.
First, he executed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pre-poll promise of waiving farmers’ loan that stood at 62,000 crores. He hasn’t written it all off, but has made a solid beginning. He is walking the talk. He has passed the first test of the newly- elected government’s deftness on financial management.
The big-bang farm loan waiver and debt relief scheme has brought cheer to 42.8 million farmers across the country. Almost 36, 000 crores have been written off.
It’s the quick decision-making that separates Yogi from his predecessors.
He is going after people indulging in illegal slaughter houses. The animal waste dumped in municipal drains and streets has been causing health nightmares. It has never been collected, transported and disposed of as per National Green Tribunal’s guidelines.
Fear had been missing. The collusion between the State and businesses ensured little action. You could get away because officials mandated with the duty to check such activities received incentives to look the other way. It was not even an issue.
The Romeos are going to be hard-hit.
Maybe it’s the perception and not reality, but in UP, every third man looks like he has the license to challenge the integrity of a woman. And I am not even talking about rapes, abduction and murders. I am talking about the simple right of a woman to enjoy a safe day on the road. The whistlers, molesters and cheap talkers could be found everywhere in Akhilesh Yadav’s regime. A good man, but not strong enough to dictate what’s right.
There are going to be romeo-squads now. The fear of being caught and shamed is expected to have positive impact on the number of such incidents.
Yogi’s promise to eradicate procedural red-tape and focus on job-intensive sectors will go a long way in helping UP gallop close to the leading states. Only being the largest State will no longer be good enough.
These are only a few. But let’s leave all his key strokes asides.
Who’s the man?
Entering at 26, he has been in parliament for close to 20 years. And he never needed the Modi wave to cling on to his seat in recent elections; he has always been that popular.
But it’s been a journey filled with polarizing rhetoric. We have snarled at him, ridiculed him for hate speeches. He has not been a 21st century leader because he always championed only Hindus and cows. A great leader works for people, not only of a certain type.
A rabble-rouser, Yogi faces several criminal charges. He allegedly worked towards converting other religious groups to Hinduism. In 2005, more than 5,000 people were converted in the town of Etah in UP. He reportedly said: “I will not stop till I turn UP and India into a Hindu Rashtra”. Strangely, his popularity kept increasing with every hardcore speech and stance.
He faces charges related to rioting, charge related to attempt to murder, charges related to rioting, armed with deadly weapon, and charges related to criminal intimidation, among many others.
Two coaches of the Mumbai bound Mumbai-Gorakhpur Godan Express was set ablaze in January, 2007, by Hindu Yuva Vahini, a Fundamentalist group founded by Yogi. It was an act in retaliation to Yogi’s arrest in 2007 for inciting Gorakhpur riots.
Few years ago, a video surfaced in which Adityanath was seen as saying that if one Hindu girl is converted to Islam then they will convert 100 Muslim women to Hinduism
Even as we remain cynical of the direction the new Government is taking, Yogi Adityanath on Friday made a commitment to Modi’s Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas slogan.
A Monitor is obliged to change
In many ways, he is like his leader. Without going into already-known details, Modi was known for his Hindu-driven inclinations. But once he became the leader of the nation, he transformed. There have been no Muslim-Hindu riots in his regime and the minorities like him for his concern for them.
Yogi will have to go through the same metamorphosis. He has no choice.
And it is largely to cater to Modi’s ambition of governing India for a long time. Now that BJP has managed to take control of UP, it is important that they stay the course. One small blip will alienate the very same people who showed confidence in them.
Yogi will know that maintaining his inherent character will be detrimental to BJP’s cause. He will rule till 2022, but is required to set up the foundation for BJP for the 2024 general elections.
He will know that if he fails to be all-inclusive, he will only enjoy his reign for five years, a scenario which Modi could take offence to and relegate Yogi to local politics, once again.