Promise & reality

Uttar Pradesh’s youthful chief minister Akhilesh Yadav crowned his one year in office last Friday with Rs2-crore cover page advertisements in most national dailies with the claim of “celebrating 365 days of transforming 200 million lives in Uttar Pradesh,” but he himself cannot be unaware of the ground realities.

The people of UP threw out Mayawati government and gave a clear mandate to the Samajwadi Party based on its promise of faster economic development and dealing with criminality firmly, but Akhilesh Yadav has given an impression of a young leader too overwhelmed by the responsibilities thrust on him.

Of course, Akhilesh’s father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav who surprised everyone by anointing his son as chief minister, should take the major share of the blame as he has been unable to control his temptation for backseat driving. Contrary to the promise to keep the criminals at bay, the Akhilesh cabinet is full of rowdy-sheeters who have been Mulayam Singh’s ‘backbone’ in politics over the years. The deteriorating law and order situation in the state – which has witnessed 23 communal riots in the last one year – was capped last fortnight with the forced resignation of minister Raja Bhaiya, who has multiple criminal charges against him, for his alleged involvement in the murder of a deputy superintendent of police. Considering that the DSP was a Muslim, the community that forms the vital vote bank of Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh has tried to heftily compensate the family besides ordering a CBI inquiry into the incident, but the perpetrators of the crime still remain free indicating the clout they enjoy in the state’s administration.

The SP government has tried to win over the people by implementing some of the election promises like unemployment allowance of Rs 1,000 per month and distribution of free laptops to students completing matriculation, but these freebies cannot be a substitute for good and effective governance where the people see the real change. The promised infrastructure and industrial investment policy and the information technology policy among others are yet to take off as the industrialists are none too convinced whether the rule of law prevails. There is already a distinct disenchantment among the Muslims, Rajputs and Brahmins who backed the SP in the last Assembly elections. Considering that the Lok Sabha elections are not far away, if Mulayam Singh wants to have a realistic shot at his prime ministerial ambition, he should immediately begin the work to set his ‘home’ in order.

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