Yogi admits non-performance, asks ministers to pull up socks

In a terse message, the UP chief minister reportedly asked his ministers to stay away from corruption and not to meddle with the transfer of officials



Photo by Subhankar Chakraborty/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Subhankar Chakraborty/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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Biswajeet Banerjee

Soon after he returned from New Delhi on Tuesday evening, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath was expected to preside over a cabinet meeting in Lucknow. But as soon as he came in, confided a minister present, he asked officials to leave the room. This was followed by an hour-long monologue in which the CM admitted that conditions were bad on the ground and that a perception was building up that the state government was faltering.

The stunned minister confided that they did not expect to be pulled up by the CM quite so bluntly. But the chief minister, who had a meeting with the Prime Minister and the BJP national president at New Delhi, chose to do some plain speaking and advised ministers against taking words of bureaucrats at face value.

“The performance (of ministers) is not up to the mark. The feedback we are getting is not encouraging. Improve your working. Go to people and meet them regularly. Also, visit flood-affected region. Do not enjoy air-conditioned comfort of your office,” Yogi reportedly said to the ministers.

The Chief Minister donned the role of a strict head master asking ministers to improve the delivery system of their respective departments. In a stern message, he asked the ministers to stay away from corruption and not to meddle with transfer of officials. There are reports that some ministers had appointed corrupt officers in their departments. He even asked ministers not to make announcements and take unnecessary decisions like allocating a separate lane for MPs and legislators at Toll Plazas. The state government withdrew this decision only after facing embarrassment because the opposition had questioned veracity of this decision as BJP talks about ending the VIP culture.

“People are not happy with your performance. This is the right time to pull up the socks otherwise it would be very late,” Yogi reportedly told the ministers, who listened to every word he spoke without questioning him.

The class Yogi took could be linked to his recent visit to New Delhi. He returned from the national capital on Tuesday afternoon after attending swearing-in ceremony of President of India, Ram Nath Kovind. Yogi was in Delhi for two days where he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah. It is believed that Prime Minister gave him feedback about the performance of his government which he got from party MPs. Last week, Prime Minister had called a meeting of BJP MPs from Uttar Pradesh in New Delhi where they complained about misrule of Yogi government and widening gap between promises and delivery of projects.

In about an hour long class, the chief minister asked ministers to bridge that gap.  He gave a dressing down to ministers asking them to live up to the expectations of the people.

That things are not going well in UP and Yogi is losing the grip is evident from the fact that a few days back Yogi had blasted bureaucracy saying that their slackness affects implementation of the government schemes. Though he asked the state bureaucracy to improve their style of functioning but he did not take action against them.

This meeting has drawn barbs from the opposition. “This meeting has proved opposition’s point that this government is more on making money than improving infrastructure and law and order. Corruption is thriving in UP and the Mahant from Gorakhnath temple is a mute spectator,” Congress spokesman Amarnath Agarwal said.

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