Uttar Pradesh: Deputy CMs, other ministers missing from the scene as pandemic wreaks havoc in the state

While Information and Publicity dept of UP govt sends press notes regularly about CM’s activities, it has been silent on what Deputy CMs or other ministers have been doing at this time of crisis

Representative Image
Representative Image

NH Correspondent/Lucknow

Where are the ministers of the Yogi Government in Uttar Pradesh? This question is being raised from different quarters at this time of pandemic when the people needed the ministers and the people’s representatives the most.

Astonishingly, Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has two Deputy Chief Ministers – Dr Dinesh Sharma and Keshav Prasad Maurya – both are conspicuously missing from the scene. While the Information and Publicity department of the UP government sends press notes regularly about CM’s meetings or his visits to the affected districts, it has been silent on what the Deputy Chief Ministers or other ministers have been doing at this time of crisis.

Dr Sharma was down with Covid in mid-April and now has recuperated.

“We are not involved in the Covid management campaign. There is no directive from the Chief Minister regarding this. In one of the meetings he only said that the ministers who are in-charge of the districts should get in touch with District Magistrates and Chief Medical Officers and enquire about the status of cases and the availability of resources. The ministers are expected to do nothing more than that, not even send any suggestion to the government,” a cabinet rank minister said.

Since 2017, the ministers have been made in-charge of the districts. Some are in-charge of two districts and some are looking after one district. Many ministers have not even been given this responsibility. The ministers vouch that no directive has come from CM’s office to ministers about their responsibility during this pandemic.

Another cabinet rank minister said that recently the state government constituted Team -9 ( these are nine teams of officials looking after different facets of administration) that included Medical Education Minister and Health Minister but left out two Deputy Chief Ministers. There is no explanation as to why Deputy Chief Ministers were not included in the team, he said and added that barring these two ministers in the high profile Team-9 for COVID management, the other teams are being headed by bureaucrats.

He said even the Agriculture minister is not part of the team that looks after agriculture, farmers and their problems. This team is headed by Agriculture Production Commissioner – a bureaucrat.

“Incidentally, the Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, was one of the star campaigners of the BJP during the Bengal election. The central leadership used his services in the election campaign, but our Chief Minister does not deem it fit to give any responsibility to ministers, even to Maurya,” the minister said sarcastically.

A senior BJP leader, who was considered loyal to Yogi, said it is nice that the Chief Minister has started inspections of the affected districts. His visits have started showing results. “But, imagine a picture where the CM is touring one part of the state and Deputy CMs other parts including villages. This would have galvanized the administrative functioning and the message would have gone deep down that the government is sympathetic towards people and is taking care of them,” he said and added: “A few days back the impression with the people was- where is the government?”

But the main question remains as to why Yogi is neglecting his cabinet ministers?

The answer came from a minister who said: “Yogi wants to take the credit for everything. He wants the media and the world should say that it is Yogi ji who has tamed corona single handedly in Uttar Pradesh and therefore he avoids giving responsibility to the ministers.”

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