Debate I Yogi Has Been Unable to Come to Grips With Administration
Be it Gorakhpur deaths or Saharanpur violence, the six-month report card of Yogi government doesn’t look good.
(As the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh completes six months, The Quint debates whether the Yogi Adityanath-led government has been able to fulfil its promises. This is the View. You may like to read the Counterview by Shantanu Gupta here)
Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government has made the fundamental error of misunderstanding activity for action. A BJP government came to power in the most populous state of the country after 15 years on the back of a triumphant majority in the 2017 Assembly elections.
Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as the Chief Minister, touting his commitment and hard work, while his controversial past was pushed to the background.
For the middle classes and elite who did not have direct exposure to Yogi ji's style of mass politics, he was an enigma, working 12 hours a day, “decisive” and efficient. This was the focus of the BJP's profiling of the state government. However, the Yogi government has failed to deliver in three crucial areas during its tenure till date.
Inept at Governance
Firstly, it has failed in terms of governance. The inability to implement policies which embody good governance is evident, exposing the administrative inexperience and inefficiency of several ministers and the supporting administrative machinery.
Inefficency in delivery mechanisms are compounded by the lack of ability to distinguish between policies like the farm loan waiver and glorified PR campaigns like the anti-Romeo squads which has not addressed the issue of rising crime against women.
Secondly, the state government has failed to address systemic issues and developmental challenges facing the state of Uttar Pradesh. It has fallen back on rhetoric and reactionary policies due to lack of innovative policy ideas.
Thirdly, the state government has been unable to control the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, one of the charges the BJP had levelled against the erstwhile Samajwadi Party regime.
High on Promises, Low on Implementation
The BJP-led state government made its priorities clear in the very first week in office with the declaration of Rs 36,000 crore farm loan waiver. It went on to declare that banning unauthorised slaughterhouses across UP and the controversial anti-romeo squad campaign were also on the agenda. Finally, UP’s chief minister declared in his first public appearance after taking oath that the roads of UP would be pothole-free by 15 June.
However, an evaluation of these policies reveals the lack of planning. The farm loan waiver fell short of the expectations of farmers in a primarily agricultural state.
Further, the government has not addressed systemic problems plaguing agriculture in the state.
The deadline of 15 June for removing potholes came and went but the state PWD (Public Works Department) failed to meet its target. At the same time, the BJP government has a complete lack of understanding that policies like the anti-romeo squad and banning illegal slaughterhouses may make for good electoral campaigns but can’t be the solution to governance-related issues.
No FIR has been filed by the anti-romeo squads which have indulged in harassment of couples while crimes against women have continued to rise.
Healthcare in Abysmal State
Recent death of over 70 children in BRD medical college in Gorakhpur and the government’s nonchalant attitude reflects its insensitivity and lack of awareness as far as public healthcare is concerned.
The government has not taken any policy initiatives to address these problems even as one continues to hear news about death of children across the state. Its actions have been limited to suspension of government officials, which might assuage public anger but does little to tackle systemic problems.
The state health minister Ashutosh Tandon and minister of state Siddharth Nath Singh have not shown willingness to understand the ground situation across hospitals in UP.
The sheer pressure of patients on public hospitals, such as the BRD medical college, needs to be addressed through more manpower and resources. But ministers are willing to be guided by state bureaucracy rather than by an independent evaluation of the situation.
Law and Order Out of Control
Finally, the Yogi government has come under fire on the very issue that was its strongest campaign plank in the Assembly elections – law and order. The state has witnessed a rise in crime against women as well as murders, kidnappings, loots, etc.
Instead of curbing the collapsing law and order situation, the state government addressed this issue by quantifying the number of encounters of identified and booked criminals.
It committed the same mistake that it was to repeat later, over the BRD Medical college incident. The preventive role that the authorities can play in this regard is completely misunderstood.
The government's failure to stop the Saharanpur riots demonstrates its inability to take decisive and immediate action required to maintain law and order.
A tendency to use brute police force against peaceful demonstrations by shiksha mitras, contractual employees, students and various organisations has become the new norm for this government, with the State exercising its power arbitrarily and oppressively.
These failures make it evident that the Yogi government has been unable to come to grips with the administration of the most populous state of the nation. Unfulfilled promises and misguided policy priorities have caused the people of the state to suffer, while the government itself has fallen back on propaganda campaigns and photo opportunities to sustain itself.
(The writer is a spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party. She can be reached @juhiesingh. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.