Yogi Adityanath began his second term as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh much the same way as he ended his first. Riding a bulldozer, that is, metaphorically speaking at least. The ‘bulldozer baba’ image fetched rich returns at the hustings, and the chief minister is determined to carry that impression into his second innings as well—of a tenacious administrator bent on taking down illegal constructions and corruption.
Yogi launched his ‘war on corruption’ within 10 days of taking oath on March 25. Two district magistrates—T.K. Shibu in Sonbhadra and Sunil Kumar in Auraiya— as well as Ghaziabad SSP Pawan Kumar were suspended for corruption and laxity during poll duty on April 1, April 4 and March 31, respectively.
To send the message that no one involved in crime will be spared, a building allegedly belonging to police inspector Jagat Narayan Singh was razed by the Lucknow Development Authority on April 3. Singh is currently lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi in connection with the murder of Kanpurbased property dealer Manish Gupta. Singh was SHO of Ramgarh station in Gorakhpur when the murder took place there on September 28 last year.
The ‘fear of Yogi’ also apparently had Gautam Singh, a history-sheeter involved in several cases of kidnapping and extortion, surrendering at the Chapla police station in Gonda on March 15, a few days after the BJP’s win in the state. Over two dozen criminals surrendered the same day in Saharanpur too. Liquor smugglers have done so in Deoband and Shamli. In Pratapgarh, a rape accused gave himself up days after he allegedly committed the crime. The police parked a bulldozer outside his house and had threatened to raze it if he didn’t surrender.
“In the past two and a half years,” says Prashant Kumar, ADG, law & order, UP, “property worth Rs 2,000 crore owned by the mafia and other criminal elements has been seized or demolished. Most of UP’s top criminals are in jail. In the next 100 days, we will identify more criminals involved in organised crime.”
To allay any misapprehension of the bulldozer becoming a symbol of oppression, Kumar adds, “Instructions have come that bulldozers should not be misused. They have been used to demolish illegal constructions, including on government properties. All judicial processes are completed before demolition.”
The opposition, though, is unconvinced. Yogi’s preoccupation with the bulldozer, says Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, is pushing the state into anarchy and jungle raj. “With his hand on the bulldozer steering, the CM is chasing the Opposition while criminals, protected by the powers that be, are wreaking havoc.”
“Instructions have come that bulldozers should not be misused. They will be used to demolish illegal constructions, including on govt properties and land”
– Prashant Kumar ADG, law & order, UP
Unperturbed by the criticism, Yogi is thinking of extending the police commissionerate system—where a commissioner of police heads a unified command structure— he had introduced in Lucknow, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Varanasi and Kanpur in his previous term to the entire state. Meerut and Ghaziabad districts are likely to be next, and Prayagraj and Gorakhpur after that. Meanwhile, 14 IPS officers have been transferred, either to take on fresh responsibility or an additional one.
The bureaucracy, too, is being hauled up. In a bid to implement the citizens’ charter—a mechanism for swift disposal of applications and public grievances—a tweet by the CM urged officials not to sit on a file for more than three days, failing which the request would be granted or cancelled and the concerned official held accountable. The CM is also insisting on punctuality and urging officials not to go for extended lunch breaks.
HIGH ON ACTION
Yogi is also spurring his cabinet colleagues into action, asking them to submit their action plans for the first 100 days of governance. He also wants them to spend at least a day in the districts assigned to them to review the progress and implementation of development works and government schemes, and tune in to the problems of the people and partymen. He has also asked them to submit proposals and set targets to attract investments, as well as create job opportunities and improve infrastructure in the state.
At the groundbreaking ceremony for a second investors’ summit (the first was in 2018) in Lucknow in July, UP government officials said they were hoping to attract Rs 10 lakh crore in investments. The first investors’ summit saw 1,065 MoUs worth Rs 4.65 lakh crore being signed.
Several new areas of investment, be it drone production or cryptocurrency, are being explored. The excise department has proposed setting up a new winery in the state. The secondary education department has said that 84 new colleges will begin operations, and 1,060 colleges will have smart classes. And if previous governments were distributing cycles to students, the new proposals upgrade the mode of transport to scooties for meritorious girl students. The Yogi government is also planning a new sports policy while the sports department is contemplating an amendment to rules to allow sportspersons to join directly as gazetted officers.
The Yogi government would like all proposals being drafted to keep employment generation in mind. The CM has instructed all service selection boards to provide government jobs to 10,000 youths in the state in the next 100 days. These selection boards are required to coordinate with the state home department before conducting recruitment exams, given the recent uproar over cheating, leaks and cancellations or change in criteria in these tests.
“Ration and sakht shaasan (a strict regime) helped the BJP win a majority,” says an official in the CM’s office. Accordingly, the Yogi government has extended the government’s free ration scheme for another three months.
ONE FOR THE WOMEN
Women’s security is another area of focus in Yogi 2.0. The government has started a Mission Shakti Project for the security, safety and empowerment of women. “We have almost 10,000 female beat constables dedicated to women’s safety, and there are women help desks in every police station. We also plan to have three more Mahila battalions in the state,” says ADG Kumar. These special battalions for women are meant not only to fight crimes against women but also ensure their safety on the roads.
To ‘safeguard collegegoing girls and check eveteasing’, the Yogi government is also planning to revive its controversial antiRomeo squads. Each such squad will have 24 policepersons, including one female, and will be stationed around schools and colleges, where the concentration of women is likely to be greater. The UP home department has also decided to set up a new STF (special task force) unit in Ayodhya to ensure punishment for some 1,000 accused under the Pocso (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
Ayodhya will continue to be a passion project for the CM in his second term. The culture department is planning to identify land for a Ramayan University in the temple town besides dedicating the new Sant Kabir Research Academy’s new building in Maghar to the public. Work on the 84 Kosi Parikrama Marg, which links all the places associated with Lord Rama, will also start soon. Among other temple projects, the tourism department plans to start the renovation of the gate and drainage around the Gorakhnath temple.
With a hundred things planned for the first hundred days of his government, how many will Yogi Adityanath be able to actually deliver? That’s a verdict for another day.