A Report Card: One year of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh

A year is a long time to evaluate Yogi’s performance. He has failed to fulfill most of his promises, crime is still rampant, he continues to play divisive politics and the agrarian crisis continues

Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Biswajeet Banerjee

Exactly a year ago, when Yogi Adityanath took oath of office as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh eye brows were raised. Here was a man who was known to be a rabble-rouser and had even created an organisation Hindu Yuva Vahini to persecute Muslims. How could he be the Chief Minister of the state where Muslims form almost 20 per cent of the population.

Questions were asked whether a man with a divisive bent of mind and without any administrative experience was fit to be the Chief Minister of this politically sensitive state.

BJP’s decision to appoint Yogi as CM suits both Modi and Amit Shah. He is the Hindu mascot of BJP in an ochre robe and is also the head of a temple. He actively takes part in election campaigns around the country. He might not have drawn crowds in Kerala, Bengaluru or Gujarat but has managed to win headlines much to the delight of the BJP leadership.

A year is a long enough time to evaluate Yogi’s performance. The National Herald has tried to assess Yogi’s performance.

Failed Promises

It has reportedly become routine for Yogi Adityanath to declare a deadline for a scheme and then extend it because the government fails to meets it.

  • When Yogi came to power he declared that all the state highways would be made gaddha mukt (pot hole free) by June 15, 2017. On the same day, PWD Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is also the deputy Chief Minister, declared that only 63 per cent of the roads were made gaddha mukt. “Government will achieve 100 per cent target after monsoon,” he said. Monsoon arrived and went but the pot holes remained. Another deadline was set. This time it was December 31 and until now, roads are still pot-hole ridden.
  • On July 1, 2017, the Chief Minister declared that the government would provide sweaters to 1.58 crore students in state-run schools. The deadline was November 30, 2017, but it could not achieve the target even by February 12, 2018, by when winter was almost over.
  • During the election campaign the government had promised laptops to students. Even after one year, the Yogi government hasn’t fulfilled the promise.
  • The government had promised Garibi Kalyan Card for the poor. Reportedly, no such cards have been issued so far.
  • The government had assured to set up a start-up incubator and  a venture capital fund worth Rs 1,000 crore. There has been silence from the government on this

Failed to tackle crime

The Yogi government came to power with a resolve to control crime. The police, reportedly, carried out over 1,294 encounters and killed 45 criminals. Four policemen have also been killed in separate encounters. Now, the National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the government on these encounters.

  • According to reports, a gym trainer was shot by an Inspector in Noida on February 5 by a Inspector claiming that encounters would give him promotions. Another encounter of a Gujjar raised eye brows while a killing of a man in Azamgarh was questioned by Yogi’s own minister Omparakash Rajbhar. Human rights activists allege that people belonging to particular castes and religion are targeted in the name of encounters.
  • In December, the son of a former legislator was killed at Hazratganj in Lucknow. Last week, jewellery worth lakhs of rupees was looted from a shop in a broad day light. Police is still groping in dark over this heist.
  • Government launched an anti-Romeo squad amidst much fanfare but this has proved a failure. In Katra tehsil in Bareilly, girls have stopped going to schools because of harassment by a few men. A girl committed suicide in Sultanpur because she was teased by boys outside school and the police refused to take action despite a complaint.

Master of Divisive Politics

  • Yogi Adityanath’s came into prominence by stating that people who could not sing Vande Mataram should go to Pakistan. These statements were made when he was MP but these are enough to point towards his the mindset.
  • In March, this year, at a meeting in Gorakhpur, he said that as a Hindu he does not celebrate Eid.
  • On Janmashtami, Yogi declared that he would not stop celebrations of Krishna Janmotsava inside a police station if he could not stop people from offering namaz on roads. Yogi has tried to project that the previous Akhilesh Yadav-government planned to ban Janmashtami celebration inside police stations. Yadav immediately sent a rejoinder saying his government had made no such decision but by that time the damage was done.
  • The Yogi Government asked Madrassas to record their Independence day celebrations and send it to the district administration. The decision drew ire from Muslim community. “Has Yogi ever asked Sangh offices to unfurl Tricolour in their offices,” questioned Mirza Taqufiq Hussain, a member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Promoting Hindutva through administrative decisions

  • Yogi celebrated Diwali in Ayodhya in October 2017 with, reportedly, an aim to revive the glory of Tretayug. The city and the banks of river Saryu were lit up with diyas (earthen lamps) and government spent over Rs 300 crore for this celebration.
  • When Ayodhya is on the agenda of Government, can Mathura be far behind?  Yogi celebrated Holi in Mathura’s Barsana at the expense of the public exchequer.
  • Walls of government buildings, Secretariat and some police stations were painted saffron. After a hue and cry was raised, the walls were repainted in its original colour.

Agrarian Crisis

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that BJP would waive off crop loans of upto Rs 1 lakh in its first cabinet meeting. After Yogi came to power, he took almost three weeks to hold his first cabinet meeting. They did announce crop loan waiver, but many of the beneficiary farmers received waivers of amounts as less as Re 1 or Rs 1.50 .

  • The farmers vented to their frustration by throwing tonnes potatoes on the streets of Lucknow on January 6. This happened despite the Chief Minister having announced the MSP for potato.
  • The government had, reportedly, declared that they would purchase 80 lakh tonnes of wheat in 2017, but they purchased less that 50 lakh tonnes. The government is reportedly set to miss paddy purchase target this year.

Administrative Failure

  • On the pretext of the National Green Tribunal order, Yogi ordered closure of illegal slaughter houses. The order was clear: get licence and then operate slaughter houses. The order affected small meat sellers whose shops were closed and some were even razed. Twelve months later, the Nagar Nigam has neither issued fresh licenses nor renewed the old ones. The illegal shops are back by greasing the palms of Nagar Nigam officials.
  • In December 2017, the Allahabad High Court had ordered suspension of two IAS officers on charges of corruption. One of them continues as the District Magistrate in Gorakhpur.
  • To check illegal mining, the government proposed e-tenders, but until today the modalities have not been finalised. Even the e-tenders for the provision of nutritious food in Aanganwadis has been held up.

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