Troubled start

Troubled start

The goodwill that went with the swearing-in of Akhilesh Yadav as Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister seems to be slowly eroding, with the young leader showing not only an inability to address serious issues of governance and politics, but also a penchant for taking ill-thought-out decisions and then revoking them.

Lack of political and administrative experience may be cited as a reason, but Akhilesh has a number of senior advisers and mentors inside the cabinet and outside, including his father, Mulayam Yadav.

The latest embarrassment involving a rebellion by the Samajwadi Party’s tallest Muslim leader and Mulayam’s trusted lieutenant, Azam Khan, who offered to quit the ministry in protest against  the divesting of the charge of a district from him, is becoming typical. At the first sign of protest  Akhilesh withdrew his decision and appeased the offended leader, but the bad blood is bound to continue.

Another controversial decision was taken and reversed a few weeks ago. MLAs were allowed to use their development funds to purchase luxury vehicles but the ensuing public criticism forced the chief minister to cancel the decision. He has sent different signals on his government’s policy on FDI in retail. It is too early to make a judgemnt on his political instincts or administrative ability because he has been at the helm for only over four months. But the popular impression is that he is not learning fast enough in office to get on top the situation.

Akhilesh had declared that improvement of the law and order situation was his first priority. But the state is still among the most lawless in the country.

A khap panchayat was bold enough to issue the most retrograde fiat about women and the government did not have the political courage to take action against it or to disapprove of it in public.

A Mayawati statue was vandalised a by a group of people. The installation of many statues by Mayawati was unjustified, but it is equally unjustifiable if people take the law into their hands to demolish them. The government is pre-occupied with unimportant issues like renaming districts whose names Mayavati had changed.

UP has serious issues of development and administration which the chief minister has to confront. It is high time that he found his feet, both in government and in politics.  

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