Yogi Adityanath has surely been in the headlines for quite a few reasons recently, be it the Hindutva face of BJP, the controversies of Taj Mahal, the ban on cow smuggling, farmers loan waiving or the formation of the anti-Romeo squad.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, who has been the five-time MP from Gorakhpur has completed eight months of his tenure at the CM office. In an exclusive interview with the Quint, Yogi spoke about his government’s achievements in 220 days and the issues that the state is currently facing.
During the interview, talking about his transformation from an ascetic to a politician and even more being the Chief Minister of a state like Uttar Pradesh, he said that “A sanyasi’s role is to serve the people and I feel obliged to be presented with the opportunity to serve 22 crores, people of Uttar Pradesh.” He said that before seven months the state was considered as a burden on the nation. “After we came to power, I believe that we have successfully changed the perception that UP is a burden and we have won the trust of not just the people of UP but also the entire nation and the world,” he said.
He further added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government has been a role model for the Yogi government. The initiatives taken by Modi in implementing the human development schemes, the reforms introduced by the government for the betterment of the people especially in the fields of economy, has guided the government in UP also.
During the interview, talking about the possibilities of investors taking a chance in UP, he said that despite UP being in the headlines for cow slaughtering, law and order disruption, crimes, the perception towards UP is rapidly changing in the positive direction. He further added that after the endeavors taken up by the UP government, delegations from US, Japan, Korea and Belgium recently visited the state and indicated their interest in investing in Uttar Pradesh.
The Chief Minister said that “for good investment, we need stable law and order situations and I feel proud to say that in the past seven months, no riots have been reported in the state, no case of cow vigilantism has been reported and people have started believing in the UP government.” He further added that under his rule, the criminals are not getting any political protection, more than 800 encounters have taken place in past seven months, over 1100 criminals have been sent to jail.
Yogi Adityanath proudly claimed that the investors are returning back to UP and the criminals are being chased away. He said that it is moral and national duty to give protection to the 22 crore citizens of Uttar Pradesh. “I will duly comply my duties and no discrimination will be done regarding law and order actions against anyone in the state,” he added.
Taking a jive at the previous Samajwadi Party government under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav, Yogi said that, “we are not flaunting about the encounters, but the criminals had become so bold that they didn’t even think twice before firing at the cops also, let alone the businessmen and the common man.” To deal with this situation the Yogi government gave a free hand to the administration to deal with the criminals, he added.
The Chief Minister said that “until the criminals don’t fear the law, we cannot establish the rule of law.” He said that the police are no longer in the defensive mode but are in its proactive role and this is increasing the confidence among the investors.
Talking about the Ram Mandir issue in Ayodhya, Yogi Adityanath expressed his views that the issue must be resolved by any means, be it by talks, courts, or any other way. He said that “India is the largest democracy in the entire world and the day we solve the issue of Ayodhya through talks, the values of our democracy will become stronger.” But this can be achieved only if both the sides come together and reach a consensus conclusion keeping in mind the public sentiments.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also informed that “when we talk about development in Uttar Pradesh than it is not only about investing in businesses but also in the sector of tourism also. We are working on the possibilities of religious tourism, heritage tourism, and eco-tourism.”
A few days back Taj Mahal had been into controversies when the name of the monument was excluded from the list of development projects in the state. Speaking on the issue and the development works regarding heritage tourism, the UP Chief Minister said that, Taj Mahal is undoubtedly an important part of the Indian heritage. He added that Agar is a city which comprises of three world heritage sites namely, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
Giving figures, Yogi said that “We are working on a Rs 370 crore project in collaboration with the world bank and UP government has also launched many initiatives regarding enhancement of tourism in the state.” He also informed that a lot of developments projects are being implemented in Banaras as well as this is also a hotbed for tourists in UP, which is a constituency represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Highlighting the decision of farmer loan waiver and providing free electricity and its impact on the state government’s treasure, Adityanath said that “it is my duty to ensure that the money allocated to a scheme is well spent and no unnecessary burden of a tax is levied on any single citizen of Uttar Pradesh.”
Boasting about the achievements of his government Yogi said that “we have successfully waived off farm loans worth Rs 36,000 crore and UP is the first state to have accomplished this mission successfully. We didn’t manage this money by levying taxes or taking loans from any bank or the central government, we accumulated the amount by stopping the unnecessary spending of the government.” He also alleged that, had it been for the BSP or the SP governments, this 36,000 crore would have been swiped off into their personal accounts.
Attacking the previous government, Yogi Adityanath said that during the reign of the Samajwadi party only 29,000 houses were built for the poor, but only in a period of seven months, his government has provided 11 lakh houses to the poor. Further adding the achievements of his government, Yogi informed that over 20 lakh people have been provided with free electricity connections.
Expressing confidence in winning the upcoming civic polls, Yogi Adityanath said that it is the need of the hour that he himself goes out and campaign for these elections, making the people aware of the government’s vision. Giving details about the structure of Uttar Pradesh, the Chief Minister said that there are 16 Municipal Corporations in UP, 198 Municipal Councils, and 438 municipalities. He further informed that around 4.5 crore population reside in the urban areas and the rural UP relies on the cities but the situations of these areas are worrisome.
He confidently claimed that even if the SP and the BSP form an alliance, they will fail in the civic body elections. The CM also stressed on the importance of strong coordination between the state government and the local bodies. “We need to set up good local bodies, whose goals are at par with the government. They should have a positive approach towards development,” he said.
The Chief Minister, talking about the goals of his government said that “we have to convert 13 cities into smart cities, 61 cities, under the Amratyojna, have to be equipped with drinking water facilities and sewerage lines have to be set up and Under the Pandit Deendayal Upadhya Urban Yojna, at least one municipality has to be developed in every district.”
Pointing out the savings done by the UP government by using the Led bulbs, Adityanath said that “Alone in Varanasi, we are saving Rs 13 crore on a yearly basis by replacing normal street lights with LED lights and if the same formula in undertaken in the entire state, the government will be able to save, hundreds of crores rupees, which can be further used for the development of the state and people.”
Taking a dig at the previous governments, Adityanath said that for the past 25 years UP politics have only revolved around casteism and development was forgotten. “We are now shifting the focus to farmers, villages, poor, women and kids. We made our policies accordingly, loan waiver does not mean providing any sops. Farmers need to be brought into the mainstream, we ensured farmers get paid more than the cost of cultivation of crops,” he said.
Adityanath also informed that there are approximately 2.43 crore registered farmers in UP and none of them are protesting against the government in UP, instead they are happy and working hard focusing on farming. The Chief Minister also underlined the initiatives of the government for the youth. He said that “youth are the center of our focus, more than 4 lakh new state government jobs will be provided for the youth. More than 6 lakh youth will be provided jobs under the skill development initiative.”
He also provided information about the plans taken up by the government to develop the infrastructure of the state. He said that “we are working on two expressways in Purvanchal and Bundelkhand and an international airport is also being built. We are working on Metro projects in four cities and also thinking about, what can be the substitute of Metro, which can be helpful to improve the public transportation system for the people.”
The Chief Minister has always been in the controversies for focusing on cows, responding to this, Adityanath highlighted his need for focus on the cows said that it is important to focus on the villages and stop the migration from rural areas and so the government has decided to open 14 new dairies by next year. He further added that “we are aiming that each dairy produces at least 3 lakh liters of milk.”
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister concluding his interview also cleared that he does not have any ambition to be the PM face in 2024 elections and said that UP is still a big challenge for him and he wants to focus only on that.