Yogi Adityanath today completed 100 days in office as Uttar Pradesh chief minister but it was a low-key anniversary with no big event to showcase the achievements of the government.
The BJP government, which assumed office on March 18 after bagging 325 of the 403 Assembly seats along with its allies, faces major challenges, some of the biggest being raising funds for the farm loan-waiver and law and order issues, including communal clashes.
The loan-waiver, a pre-poll promise of the BJP, has the finance department burning the proverbial midnight oil as it tries to offload the sudden fiscal burden of nearly Rs 36,369 crore.
This, coupled with Rs 34,000 crore for the implementation of the seventh pay commission recommendations, has put an additional burden of Rs 70,000 crore on the state’s coffers, an official said.
There are other challenges too. Like arranging funds for mega projects like the Purvanchal e-way.
The government has also admitted it could manage to make just 63 per cent of the state’s roads pothole free by the June 15 deadline set by the chief minister.
Distribution of free laptops among students, mentioned in the BJP manifesto, is another unfinished promise. The scheme was inaugurated on March 19 but there is no launch date yet.
The 45-year-old saffron clad chief minister and his cabinet colleagues have already sought more time saying they inherited a “jungle raj” from the SP government and it would take them some time to set things in order.
As the state government was busy preparing a 100-day achievement document, opposition parties stepped up their attack.
State Congress spokesperson Dwijendra Tripathi ridiculed the ruling party for making promises that it could not meet.
“Two months of the Adityanath government have not sent out any strong message on any of the issues which were part of BJP’s campaign — improved law-and-order situation and better administration,” he said.
BSP chief Mayawati alleged that the Dalits, the OBCs as well as forward castes, including Brahmins, have been facing “atrocities” in the state in an apparent attempt to associate Adityanath and his government with Kshatriyas only.
As head of the Gorakhnath Peeth, Adityanath has often associated himself with Kshatriya symbols.
He is often seen surrounded by mostly Kshatriyas and has supported Thakur leaders of other parties too. In 2013, he came out in support of Kunda MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya who was accused of conspiring to kill a deputy superintendent of police.
Not known to take the frequent barbs directed at him lying down, former chief minister and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav recently took on the Yogi government, saying, “I never knew officers wielded brooms so well. Now the question is how much filth have they cleared so far?”
He said the deadline to make state roads pothole-free by June 15 remained a “pipe dream”.
Asked about the Yogi government’s decision to probe the Expressway and river front projects launched during the SP rule, Akhilesh said, “Will this government do any work…or will it only conduct probes? This government should try to do better work than us.”
Refuting criticism on law and order, state cabinet minister Shrikant Sharma said, “A special cell will be constituted in the CM’s office for crime-monitoring, which will be done personally by the CM.”
“SP leaders, who have carried criminals and rapists with them in their cars, should introspect,” he added.
Since taking office on March 19, the Adityanath government has recommended CBI probes into several projects of the previous regime led by Akhilesh Yadav, leaving the SP fuming.
“The government has become an inquiry committee. It is resorting to such tactics to smokescreen its failures…It smacks of politics of vendetta,” SP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhury told PTI.
He said the state was under “an undeclared Emergency” since the saffron party came to power.
For almost a month after Adityanath took over the reins of the state, some 80 presentations were made by as many departments before him.
Counting the government’s achievements, Principal Secretary (Information) Avaneesh Awasthi said it has half a dozen significant measures, starting with the Rs 36,500 crore loan waiver and the power-for-all agreement.
The power-for-all agreement with the Centre promises electricity around the clock to district headquarters and 18 hours a day to all villages.
A panel of Group of Ministers constituted by the chief minister has submitted a report on a new mining policy and on clamping down on illegal mining, a major problem in UP.
A portal being launched under the CMO’s supervision to allow people to file complain on illegal land-grab could be a game-changer too, officials said.
Another key decision was making transfers and postings of bureaucrats “merit-based” and free from extraneous pressures as reflected in wide-scale transfers done by the government.