Last 19th March, Bharatiya Janta Party, in one of its most controversial and debated decisions ever, had Yogi Adityanath sworn in as the Chief Minister of India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh. Given the phenomenal win that BJP registered in UP elections 2017, it was expected that party president Keshav Prasad Maurya would now be rewarded for the meticulous campaigning. However neither Maurya nor Manoj Sinha were selected by the BJP high command as deserving candidates for the chair of the CM, as the party announced the high priest of the famous Gorakhnath temple Adityanath as the Chief Minister candidate. And thus began the rule of Yogi which today completes its first month, with fifty nine months to go.
The appointment of Yogi came across as a shock to some who have since raised questions on his integrity and candidature given that he, in past, has prominently spoken as a Far Right Hindutva politician. But the party and its many members have supported Yogi and shown belief in his capabilities to work for one and all, in sync with the nationwide BJP agenda of development. And keeping up with the hopes and expectations of his party and the people of the Uttar Pradesh, Yogi has worked for the past one month, passing one bill and other, in his first stint as a person in power.
योगी सरकार का एक महीना: दृढ़ संकल्प के साथ सबका साथ-सबका विकास के पथ अग्रसर योगी सरकार। pic.twitter.com/R0pDkj85sM
— BJP Uttar Pradesh (@BJP4UP) April 18, 2017
Following are some of the decisions taken by him that have been debated, scrutinised and welcomed by different sections of the society nation wide-
1. Declaration of Assets
Adityanath after taking oath on the 19th ordered all his ministers to declare their income, movable and immovable properties within 15 days. He has made it clear that this government will have zero tolerance on issues related to corruption, and law and order. Given that the state of law and order is always being abused by those in power in UP, the decision is a well sought change from those who have ruled in past.
2. Farmers Loan Waiver
Yogi and his cabinet, in an attempt to fulfill on the election manifesto and gain brownie points with the common man, announced in the first Cabinet meeting on April 4th that loans upto INR 1 lakh taken by small and marginal farmers shall be waived by the government. It is claimed that this step shall cover almost 2.5 crore farmers of the state (92.5% of the total) and set the government back by INR 36,000 crore.
— CM Office, GoUP (@CMOfficeUP) April 4, 2017
— CM Office, GoUP (@CMOfficeUP) April 4, 2017
योगी सरकार का एक माहः प्रदेश की जनता को भा रहे योगी सरकार के निर्णय। pic.twitter.com/YlIiOOWNiv
— BJP Uttar Pradesh (@BJP4UP) April 19, 2017
3. The Beef Ban
Yogi did what was promised in the BJP manifesto in the first fifteen days of his tenure – he instructed the police department to put the shutter down on all the illegal butchershops in Uttar Pradesh. And so followed the closure of thousands of shops in UP affecting the meat economy whose primary beneficiary is the Muslim community in the state. The extent was such that the world famous Tunday Kabab shop in Lucknow had to put its shutters down in years for the lack of buffalo meet. This is to be noted that the Ban was only on nonlicensed butchershops and those with valid licences could continue their business as usual. However as is the case, implementation of this took some time and hassle resulting in the intervention of Central government as well which advised the UP government to clarify its stand on the ban. The Meat Traders Association after a meeting with the CM have the business return back to usual (focussing on meat other than that of the cow), however there are many low income, small scale butcherhouses who have come under the hammer.
— CM Office, GoUP (@CMOfficeUP) March 31, 2017
4. Anti Romeo Squads
To tackle the eveteasers on the roads of Uttar Pradesh the police department was instructed to come up with a solution. The result was Anti Romeo Squads which are in fact a new take on the 2005 Operation Majnu in the state. The Squads are meant to help the police round up those who harass and abuse women. However these Squads have since come under scrutiny after cases of harassment of couples in the state coming to light. It is alleged that the Squads are a way to enforce Indian cultures and values back to the young generation which has “lost its way under the western influence”. It is to be noted that the CM Yogi himself has denounced those who have humiliated couples in public spaces and has specifically instructed to detain only those who stalk, abuse and tease women, and let the consenting couples be.
5. Discipline & Regulation of Government Sector
Departing from the usual trend, Adityanath has to great extent maintained the same bureaucratic staff that the last Akhilesh Yadav government had constituted. However he has issued strict warnings for those who are used to working in a regular, stuck up government system saying on a visit to Gorakhpur that “those officers who cannot work 18 – 20 hours were free to leave”. It is noticed that the state government staff has now started following the 9am – 6pm duty hours in office given surprise inspections.
— CM Office, GoUP (@CMOfficeUP) March 25, 2017
What this new state government will change is something that is a discourse for future, but the changes it has executed are in every way a departure from tradition and high on shock value.