In March 2017, when BJP named Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister after their landslide victory in UP, many political pundits wrote him off even before he took the oath of the CM’s office. Analysts thought a saffron-clad mahant can only teach lessons in dharma and governance is not his cup of tea. This was a lazy analysis or hate for his saffron attire at best. Four years in office – Yogi proved them all wrong.
What the Yogi Adityanath government has achieved in the last four years in a state like Uttar Pradesh, which was at the bottom of all the development indices is not short of a miracle. The only index UP topped in the times of Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati was ‘crime’. Yogi, a five-time member of parliament knew that for bringing prosperity back to UP, for re-instating the trust of entrepreneurs in the state, he needs to fix the law and order of the state on priority. He took the task head-on. By adding 1.5 lacs police staff in the rank and file of the police force, strategically bringing history sheeters to book in each district, protecting businesses from land grabbers and extortionists, he was able to convince industrialists to come back and expand in UP.
A safe UP under Yogi started getting investment proposals to the order of Rs 5 lac crores every year and a high percentage of them starting seeing groundbreaking ceremonies. In the last 4 years, UP jumped miraculously to the 2nd spot in Ease of Doing Business ranking, beating industrialized states like Tamilnadu, Maharashtra and Telangana.
Tightened law and order was coupled with the fast-paced development of infrastructure, increased availability of power and de-cluttering the red-tapism faced by entrepreneurs. This resulted in massive job creation in the state. The per capita income in the state has almost doubled and the unemployment rate has come down to 4.1% in February 2021, compared to 17.5% in 2017, when Akhilesh Yadav left the office. Large scale government recruitment done in a robust and fair fashion and impetuous to MSME through an innovative scheme like One District-One Product (ODOP), added to the employment generation drive of UP govt under Yogi. As a result, Uttar Pradesh is now rapidly moving towards becoming the biggest economy in the country.
Many people find ‘double engine ki sarkar’ as political rhetoric, whenever PM Modi says it in state election campaigns while urging people to elect BJP in the state, to work on the same frequency with the central government. But Yogi proved that ‘double engine’ means ‘double growth’ for the states. All the development schemes of the centre worked superbly well in UP and succeeded the targets under Yogi govt. Yogi constantly brought senior cabinet ministers to the state to iron out pending issues and take steeper targets for his state to complete. Now be it Gas Stove distribution, or construction of toilets or the construction of houses for the underprivileged UP is among the top achievers.
Decoding elements behind Yogi’s success can give us useful lessons. Yogi was brought up in a very hard working-class family, where his late father was known for his incorruptible reputation as a forest officer in Uttarakhand. During his tenure as a member of parliament from 1998 to 2017, he was among India’s top-performing parliamentarians on the count of attendance, number of questions asked, number of debates participated in and number of private member bills presented.
During those two decades as an MP, Yogi trained himself meticulously on governance and policy frameworks. His daily 3-4 hours of Janta-Darbars in Gorakhpur for the last 20 years, kept his ears close to the ground and he exactly knew the pain areas of the people. In these two decades, Yogi also managed more than three dozen educational, health and social institutions of the Gorakhnath Mutt, almost like a super CEO. With such a rich wealth of experience and grounding, Yogi hit the ground running in 2017 and shook the slumber of Uttar Pradesh and catapulted it first among the equals in last four years. It speaks volumes about Yogi’s style of working, when a senior bureaucrat from Uttar Pradesh, mentioned Sanjay Dixit, his IAS friend from Rajasthan cadre – “Saloo baad, UP mein kaam karne ka maza aa raha hai” (After a long long time, it is such pleasure to work in Uttar Pradesh).
Uttar Pradesh used to be the theme for many mafia movies of Bollywood. UP residents were teased as uneducated bhaiyas, in many parts of the country. Yogi has turned the tables in the last 4 years. Yogi Adityanath is the best thing that happened to UP in the last two decades. Like PM Modi has enhanced the value of Indian passport across the globe, Yogi has added pride to be a UPite. Today as a UP-Walla, born in Bareilly, I feel proud to be a bhaiya from Yogi’s UP.