Exclusive: Adityanath Talks to The Quint on 220 Days of Yogi Raj
A monk, the BJP’s Hindutva firebrand, the five-time MP from Gorakhpur, and the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath is definitely one of the most controversial political figures in recent times.
In his eight-month tenure as the state’s Chief Minister, Adityanath announced a blanket ban on cow-smuggling, waived farm loans, and introduced ‘anti-Romeo’ squads to crack down on harassment of women on the streets.
In an exclusive interview to The Quint's Editorial Director Sanjay Pugalia, Adityanath opened up about a range of issues plaguing the state of Uttar Pradesh and the country.
Yogi’s Development Push
Taking a jibe at the failures of the previous governments, Adityanath said that he was mindful of the state’s finances, taxation and proper use of expenditure. In August this year, he publicly promised 70 lakh jobs to the youth of UP within the next five years and plans to leave no stone unturned.
He further said that investors from US, Japan, Korea and Belgium recently visited the state. He also claimed that the registration of six lakh youths under the state’s skill development programme is currently underway. Speaking of the Varanasi-Kyoto pact, he said that a number of projects were being implemented to convert the Prime Minister's constituency into a smart heritage city.
The Law & Order Problem
Restoring law and order in the state was one of the BJP’s key poll promises this year. The creation of ‘anti-Romeo squads’ for the protection of women on the streets has garnered a lot of headlines in the recent past. Adityanath said that the law and order problem in the state can be controlled by inducing fear of the law in the minds of people.
Recounting the 800 encounters carried out in the past seven months, he said that law and order will be implemented without any discrimination and that the state will act against those indulging in criminal, anti-social and anti-national activates.
Talking of the “Ram Janmabhoomi”
Speaking of the Ayodhya issue, the UP CM said that a solution can be reached only via dialogue. He expressed confidence that the Supreme Court would give a "respectable decision" considering the general public sentiments over the issue. In a bid to back the ‘Ram statue’, he said that development in Ayodhya isn’t just about industrialisation, but also about religious and ecological tourism.
The Taj Controversy
Despite conveniently failing to mention the Taj Mahal in the state’s tourism booklet, Adityanath said that Agra is important for tourism and that Rs 370 crore is being invested in Agra with World Bank funding.
The Upcoming Civic Polls
Expressing confidence in winning the upcoming civic polls, the Chief Minister said that rural UP relies on the cities but the civic bodies have made the cities hellish. Stressing the importance of strong coordination between the state government and the local bodies, he said that the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party will lose miserably even if they decide to form an alliance.
On Being the 2024 PM Face
Addressing a question that interests many, Adityanath said that he is not a contender for any post, and that UP is still a big challenge for him.