On July 20 when Anandiben Patel was appointed as Governor of Uttar Pradesh a senior minister in Yogi Government had wondered why Anandiben was being moved from Bhopal. She was already Governor of Madhya Pradesh and her presence in the now Congress-ruled MP, BJP insiders argued, was needed much more than in the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.
A month down the line they appear to have received their answer. On Monday the new Governor held a meeting of senior bureaucrats from Lucknow district and enquired about the progress of development work, particularly the centrally sponsored schemes. A Raj Bhawan press release declared that the Governor would travel across the state and hold review meetings with district officials to evaluate the progress of development schemes.
“Anandiben is here to rein in Yogi. She will be the eyes and ears of Amit Shah and Narendra Modi and inform the high command about the progress UP is making in different fields,” a cabinet minister who had earlier questioned the appointment of Anandiben told this reporter, while confessing to a certain degree of uneasiness.
The Governor is also scheduled to meet the Council of Ministers at the end of this month.
Sources in Raj Bhawan said that the Governor’s focus will be on the centrally-sponsored schemes. She has already enquired about the progress of central schemes and how the state government schemes are dovetailed with central schemes. Details from the Finance Department have been sought about funds Uttar Pradesh has received under Central schemes and how much has been utilized.
One could hear murmurs in the corridors of power in Uttar Pradesh over Governor’s decision to start monitoring of the projects. BJP insiders including ministers have started asking if the Governor would now be a parallel power centre and whether they would now have to report to the Raj Bhavan as well. Some are more vocal and believe this would be detrimental to the administration. Some of them argued that Maharaj ji (as Yogi is known among BJP leaders) should talk to Modi and Shah about the Governor’s conduct.
The style of working of Anandiben is different from Yogi, they claim. She was Chief Minister in Gujarat and had also worked under Modi when he was Chief Minister. She knows what Modi wants. “Yogi has his own style of working. Obviously there would be differences in evaluating schemes and this ultimately will develop bad blood between the Chief Minister and the Governor,” a senior BJP leader predicted.
Anandiben has already left her stamp of authority in Government working. In Lucknow, she first opened the gates of Raj Bhawan for the public. Then she reduced her security and on Sunday she adopted a TB-infected child and forced 20 other Raj Bhawan staff to adopt one TB infected child each. The next day she called for the review meeting with officials.
Though a close lieutenant of Modi, she has her own style of working. At the face of Patidar’s agitation in 2016 she announced her resignation through facebook. That decision then sent shock waves and now ministers in Yogi government are feeling the heat over her decision to review development schemes.