Millennium Post

Is Akhilesh losing his grip on Uttar Pradesh?

When Akhilesh Yadav was sworn in as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh on 15th March this year, it looked like the moment had arrived for the young leader and he seemed ready to take the mantle of the Samajwadi Party (SP) from his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav. In the run up to the elections, Akhilesh Yadav had covered the state with his cycle yatras and, with party bagging 224 seats in the assembly, the credit for victory was given to him.

It was the perfect setting for the young chief minister to prove his credentials an an able administrator and the future leader of the party. However, recent events in the state paint a picture that question the abilities of Akhilesh Yadav on both factors. Yadav’s stature in the party can be gauged from his stand on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail. The Uttar Pradesh chief minister had said that he does not have a problem with FDI, if it safeguards the interest of the farmers. His statement was contradicted within hours by his uncle and party general secretary, Ram Gopal Yadav, when he said that the party will not support FDI in any circumstance.

It’s not only the party where Akhilesh Yadav is finding hard to have his way. In the government there have been murmurs that it is SP chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is actually the man behind major government decisions. When Akhilesh’s uncle and minister PWD in the state government, Shiv Pal Yadav, suspended about a hundred engineers, the chief minister only came to know about it much later.

Akhilesh Yadav’s inability to rein in the crime that has once again grown after the SP formed the government has further compounded the problems for the young chief minister. It has led to criticism within and outside the party. Yadav’s announcement in the Uttar Pradesh assembly that the state’s MLAs can use upto 20 lakh rupees from their constituency development fund to buy a luxury car led to huge protests and chief minister had to later withdraw his announcement.

Though SP leaders have not openly criticised Akhilesh Yadav for his decisions, they do confide privately that the graph of the party is witnessing a downward slide. A senior leader of the party says that after SP won the elections, there were suggestions by some party leaders that it should be Mulayam Singh Yadav who should be made the chief minister and Akhilesh Yadav should be his deputy. Sources say that there were discussions within the party that Akhilesh should be made the chief minister after two years, once he had learnt the intricacies of the government.

Badrinarayan, professor with the Govind Vallabh Pant Institute, says that there has been a dearth of ideas from the new regime and the increasing crime rates has only compounded the problems for the chief minister. ‘Akhilesh Yadav stopped the policies initiated by Mayawati and instead announced new policies but there has been no action till date and the state is seeing a vacuum in policy works,’ says Badrinarayan. The party, however, blames the tenure of the last government for the problems that it is facing in the state. ‘ Uttar Pradesh is big state and to maintain the state from (sic) the condition that it was given to us requires time,’ says SP spokesperson, Rajendra Chaudhary. While defending the chief minister, the SP leader says that there are obstacles, however, the chief minister will be able to over come them.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajnath Singh says that Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government was removed from the state as people were fed with the corruption, but as of now there hasn’t much improvement in the state. ‘The SP has  failed the expectations of the people,’ says Singh. The BJP leader, though, added that it was early to criticise the government as there was still some time left before the government completes six months.

Some the decisions of chief minister Akhlesh Yadav that have drawn criticism or shown his lack of grasp are:

The chief minister said that all malls and restaurants should shut down after seven in the evening as the state is facing a shortage of electricity. Akhliesh Yadav had to withdraw the order in less than twenty four hours.

Akhilesh Yadav removed Azam Khan as minister of in-charge of Meerut, the urban development minister sent a letter to the chief minister saying that he should also be removed as in-charge of Muzzafarnagar and Ghaziabad. Yadav bowed down under the pressure and gave back the charge of Meerut to Azam Khan. After coming back to power, the chief minister renamed eight districts, under Mayawati tenure. The BSP chief, Mayawati, termed the move as anti-dalit. The chief minister’s much hyped janta durbars have been stopped now.

Samarth Saran is senior correspondent at Millennium Post.
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