Akhilesh's UP plunges into despair as Raja Bhaiyas rule

Akhilesh's UP plunges into despair as Raja Bhaiyas rule

Akhilesh's UP plunges into despair as Raja Bhaiyas rule

It has been a story of hope turning into despair for Uttar Pradesh under its youngest chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav: eleven communal riots in as many months, killing of a senior police officer allegedly by the henchmen of his close aide, Raja Bhaiya, and allegations of land grabbing, kidnapping and lawlessness against many of his cabinet colleagues and party legislators.

Barely eleven months in the hot seat, murmurs of dissent against Akhilesh’s rule have started surfacing within the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) with a feeling that the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s experiment of elevating his son to the high post  has failed. Political observers feel that Mulayam’s attempt to groom his son and rule the state by proxy until he is settled fully appears to have backfired.

Not only has Akhilesh failed on the law and order front, a major plank of his party in the 2012 Assembly polls but has also not been able to deliver on the various promises made before the elections leading to resentment among the people, especially the younger generation.

“If Mulayam had thought that Akhilesh’s anointment as chief minister will rid his party of the goonda tag, his hopes appear to have been belied,” a senior SP leader said. Notwithstanding repeated warnings from Mulayam and Akhilesh, SP legislators and ministers have been found to be on the wrong side of the law. 

Ever since the SP assumed the reins of the state in March 2012, a large number of ministers and SP MLAs have faced charges of being involved in offences like land grabbing, graft, assaulting officials, including the cops, and common people and even murder.

Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, a close aide of Mulayam and Akhilesh, had to be sacked from the cabinet after his name cropped up in the killing of a senior cop in Pratapgarh district. Before that, minister for secondary education Vinod Singh alias Pandit Singh had been accused of kidnapping a senior medical officer after the latter refused to issue appointment letters to the doctors recommended by him. 

Singh was sacked after a hue and cry over the matter but he was re-inducted in the recent cabinet reshuffle much to the shock and dismay of even many of the SP leaders.

UP minister Raja Ram Pandey had also been accused of letting  loose a reign of terror in his home district of Pratapgarh to grab a piece of land. Minister for homeguards and vocational education Brahmashanker Tripathi has been charged with grabbing large tracts of lands that belonged to the village panchayat and other government agencies by transferring their ownerships to the institutions owned by his family and kins.

Openly voiced concerns

A spate of communal riots ever since the SP came to power has triggered resentment among Muslims, considered to be the vote bank of the party. Many Muslim leaders of the SP have openly voiced concern over recurring communal riots and charged the government with failing to offer protection to the community.

The communal riot in the land of Lord Rama -Faizabad saw imposition of curfew after a gap of 20 years. Faizabad and the adjoining town of Ayodhya had witnessed curfew on December 6, 1992 when the disputed structure had been demolished at Ayodhya by the ‘karsevaks.’ Ten people have lost their lives while scores of others sustained injuries. The recurring communal clashes put a question mark on Akhilesh’s pledge to give a ‘bhaya mukta’ (free from fear) society.

While the communal fabric of the society came under threat, the law and order situation has also taken a severe beating. The crime rate has shot up considerably and the incidents of crimes against the womenfolk have also registered a sharp increase. In fact the government had to establish a women-only help line to check incidents of molestation.

During the first six months of Akhilesh regime, a total of 2,437 people were murdered while the number of cases of sexual abuse stood at 1,100 during the same period. Apparently concerned over a possible negative fallout on its government in Uttar Pradesh owing to the misdeeds of the its own workers and leaders, the SP is in the process of identifying the ‘rowdy elements’ within the party for either being ‘tamed’ or ‘thrown out.’ 

After realising that repeated warnings from Mulayam and Akhilesh Yadav to such elements had fallen on deaf ears, the party formed a committee to ‘keep a watch’ on the activities of the party leaders and workers and report any attempt by them to ‘terrorise’ the officials and move in vehicles with SP flags and break the law with impunity.

An SP leader said that many workers had got printed visiting cards claiming themselves to be the members of a non-existent ‘Team Akhilesh’ apparently to terrorise the government officials and influence their decisions. Even within the SP voices of dissent have started emerging. Senior minister Azam Khan is said to be upset with the working of the government. There are also reports of differences among the ministers.

“Akhilesh lacks leadership quality…He has not been able to control his ministers many of whom are very senior to him. He has to look to Mulayam for guidance every time something happens,” said BJP leader Vijay Pathak. Akhilesh’s failure has provided an opportunity to the opposition parties to re-establish themselves within an year of a decisive mandate for the former.

“If drastic measures are not taken and the situation remains the same, it will be very difficult for the party to repeat its Assembly performance in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections,” conceded an SP leader.