As Yogi Adityanath completes 50 days at the helm in Uttar Pradesh this Sunday, the state is seeing the signs of a transformation, says the BJP. But some challenges are also rising from within, reports Aman Sharma
At 9:25 am last Friday, the parking lot at the secretariat building in Lucknow was full. It is an unusual sight as officials and ministers in the state capital are notorious to troop in late into office. But with chief minister Yogi Adityanath himself in on time, no one wants to take a chance anymore.The early days of the government have ended rather late for bureaucrats and ministers. For almost 25 days, some 80odd presentations were made by as many departments before the CM, with the proceedings ending around midnight.

“All 47 ministers in the state sat through these presentations. The CM wished that ministers get an allround view of government. Ministers also have been given responsibility of a district or two each. The CM wants everyone to travel to the ground,“ Avneesh Awasthi, UP’s principal secretary (information), told ET. Adityanath will be coming out with his 100-day achievement document in June-end.

A political resolution passed by the state BJP working committee earlier this week, in the presence of party national president Amit Shah, hailed the start made by Adityanath. “The change has started to show in UP since the Yogi government took charge. Well-meaning people are feeling relieved with closure of illegal slaughterhouses. With constitution of anti-Romeo squads, antisocial 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 resolution said.

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 working committee meeting, Adityanath specifically praised cane development minister Suresh Rana for burning the midnight oil 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 round the clock to district headquarters and 18 hours a day to all villages.

“The erstwhile governments only pushed UP into darkness,“ the resolution said.

Another visible change is in making bureaucrat transfers and postings merit-based and free from extraneous pressures -as re flected in the wide-scale transfers done lately, the party said. “In the erstwhile government, transfers had become an industry. Now, honest and talented officers are getting respectable posts,“ the political resolution said.

A number of ministers and bureaucrats ET spoke to in Lucknow said Adityanath was in for a long haul in UP. “He has done more work in 50 days than the earlier CM did in a year’s time. There has not been any controversial statement from him since becoming the CM. Bureaucrats and the public have started to see him as a no-nonsense administrator who is hard at work, much like Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.He looks determined to demolish the perception that a saffron-clad person cannot govern,“ a top bureaucrat in UP told ET, requesting to remain anonymous.

But while the BJP came to power in UP on the plank of improving law and order and terming the Samajwadi Party rule as goondaraj, recent incidents like the ones in Saharanpur and Bulandshaher are showing the shoe is on the other foot now.Adityanath-founded Hindu Yuva Vahini’s men are alleged to be behind the murder of an aged Muslim man in Bulandshaher after a `love-jihad’ style elopement. In Saharanpur, an attack on the senior su perintendent of police’s residence by BJP activists, allegedly under the leadership of local MP Raghav Lakhanpal, has led to the transfer of SSP Luv Kumar even as the MP remains free. The Bulandshaher incident happened even as just last week, during his visit to Gorakhpur, Adityanath met senior Yuva Vahini workers and warned them to not take law in their own hands.

“In the districts, BJP workers feel that right from the station house officer to the SP, offic ers owe allegiance to the Samajwadi Party and should be changed. There is a feeling of animosity. But more important is that peo ple must not start feeling that the goondas of Samajwadi Party have been replaced by goondas of right-wing outfits. Adityanath’s image will suffer if such incidents recur,“ a former UP police chief told ET in Lucknow.

The Samajwadi Party, which is otherwise down and out and entangled in its family disputes, sent teams to both Saharanpur and Bulandshaher, and slammed the CM on the law and order failures. “We were termed the goonda party. Now, what is happening un der Yogi ji? Will he act,“ former CM Akhilesh Yadav asked last week.

The new director-general of police, Sulkhan Singh, hand-picked by Adityanath and the Centre for the job, has the delicate task of bringing down UP’s crime record and also reigning in the right-wing ele ments who are feeling emboldened with the BJP in power. Adityanath would also not wish for these red blotches in UP.