In an interview with The Hindu, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, talked about the importance of his personal faith and how he separates traditions from superstitions. He was asked if his personality prioritizes dharma or politics, he said dharma comes first as part of his personality. He explained that dharma is not just about worshipping a deity or following rituals. It is also about the duty that inspires him to work in the interest of the country and society.
“I consider ‘puja paddhatti’ a matter of personal faith. You don’t have the right to interfere in my faith. And nor do I have the right to interfere in your personal faith. But my dharma makes me persistent towards my national duty,” he added.
‘I believe in God, I reject the idea of superstitions’
It is a common belief in the political arena that whichever Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has gone to Noida has lost the next elections. Following the superstition, many CMs, including SP’s Akhilesh Yadav, never visited Noida. However, after becoming CM, Yogi Adityanath has visited Noida and Bijnore (another district rumoured to be jinxed) several times. When the reporters asked him if he feels visiting Noida risky, he said there is no question of such risk.
CM Yogi said, “I’m the Chief Minister of the whole State, and it cannot be only attached to my personal ambition, so if Noida and Bijnore are considered a jinx, it cannot come in the way of my work.” He added that BJP had won Lok Sabha elections and several other polls after he visited Noida. “I’m a man who believes in God, but not superstition or orthodoxy. I pray, visit temples, follow the traditions of my order, and I reject the idea of any heaven that may accrue due to following superstitions. I want to achieve rewards through my karma,” he added.
‘Anyone who broke the law faced action from the government’
While discussing law and order in the state and concerns regarding caste politics and caste-appeasement, CM Yogi said his government never discriminated against anyone based on their religion or caste. If gangster Vikas Dubey who died in an encounter, was a Brahmin, the Deputy Superintendent of Police who was killed during the raid on his house was also a Brahmin. BSP’s and other opposition parties’ allegations that his government is against Brahmins is only political, Yogi Adityanath said.
He said, “Since when is the BSP a champion of Brahmin samaj? Their old slogans reflect their attitudes. Neither SP nor BSP has the right to speak about social cohesion as they have advocated conflict between communities. They are trying to hunt for their lost social base, which has come to the BJP.”
Talking about the NSA and matters related to property confiscation of rioters, he added, “Justice has to be equal for all, and we cannot look at it in the prism of caste, community. The gaze of justice should be the same for all. When we are in government, we must be ready to do justice for the law-abiding citizen.” He said his government never invoked National Security Act (NSA) in wrong cases. Every case in which NSA was invoked was backed with a reason that was presented in the courts and in the advisory boards.
CM Yogi said that there was a conspiracy of riots in the state that forced the government to bring the ordinance on property damage and take action. “It is nobody’s fundamental right to destroy public property. If they do so, then the State has the right to bring in a law to provide for restitution of that damage through claim over property,” he said.
The state has confiscated properties worth Rs.1,600 crores from the big mafia under the Gangster Act. “If anyone has broken the law, then the government has come down heavily on them. This is necessary to rein in those who think they can break the law with impunity,” he said.
Covid management in the state
There were allegations that dead bodies were found floating in Ganga and buried in shallow graves on Ganga’s banks. CM Yogi said such burials have been happening for ages, and it is not a new practice. It happened during the tenures of SP and BSP as well. When the Namami Gange project was implemented, such burials were discouraged, and campaigns were initiated to sanitise the public against such practices. However, these practices again started during Covid, and the administration took immediate action as soon as they came to know about it.
The CM explained that in Hindu traditions too, there are three ways of performing last rites, ground burial, cremation, and water burial. There are certain time frames where cremation cannot take place. The government has been taking steps to raise awareness to prevent water burials and shallow ground burials on the banks of Ganga.
The CM said, “You must recall, in Balrampur district, someone associated with the SP or Congress took the body of his relative who had passed away in Balrampur hospital, and he threw the relative’s body from a bridge into the river. We filed an FIR and arrested the man. These things have happened in the past. He explained that
The country is dealing with the pandemic of the century. The CM said that the state government is taking every possible step to managing Covid-19, however, during the second wave, the pressure on the hospitals increased exponentially. The people were in a panic, and some even reserved beds in hospitals with the help of hospital staff. Those people who created panic are no less responsible, he added.
He said during the first wave, his government made sure that the students and migrant workers stranded in other states get support to get back to Uttar Pradesh. Though some MLAs are raising voice over alleged mismanagement, there are reasons behind it. He said, “When you create a panic situation among the public, and the public starts making noise, these people (MLAs) are under compulsion to speak in the same tone. They were just a few. Not more than two-three.”
He said though the court had ordered to divert medical oxygen from GB Nagar and Ghaziabad to Delhi, UP did not deny the patients that were coming from Delhi for treatment. “The Central government provided us oxygen from other places,” he added. The state is not hiding the reporting of the deaths. The state has done over four lakh tests per day, and even today, the state is doing maximum tests though the positivity rate is around 0.015%.
CM Yogi added that he conducted a survey and found only 32% of villages had symptomatic patients while the other 68% had no symptoms. He further added that only 4,000 kids were orphaned in the entire UP due to Covid and non-COVID deaths. A total number of 22,700 people lost their lives in the state. “There is nothing to hide. There must have been a death somewhere? Someone’s father or brother would have died. All this will come up. You cannot hide data of deaths. If you have conducted a test, you would also get a result. And the data is linked to the national portal. Nobody can fudge data in that. All those saying this don’t have information about the ground reality.”
Beautification of temples
Under the Chief Minister Tourism Promotion Scheme, MLAs were asked to propose religious or tourist spots for beautification irrespective of which religion they belonged. The CM said that if an MLA had proposed a dargah, the state would have provided funds for its development. However, “because now even SP people are prioritising mandirs instead of a dargah or a mosque, mostly temples have been proposed,” he added.
CM Yogi said that the Union government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has done a lot of work for the benefit of the farmers. Schemes like PM Fasal Beema Yojana, PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, 1.5 times MSP, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi and others are being provided without any discrimination. Even in the state of Uttar Pradesh, between 2007-2017, only Rs.95,000 crore were paid to the sugarcane farmers. Under the BJP government in the last 4.5 years, the government has made payments of Rs.1.4 lakh crores.
The farmer protests are politically motivated, and such campaigns would not get support from people and farmers in the state, he said. “The recent panchayat elections have proven that. Barring Baghpat, the BJP won all seats in west UP.”
Kanwar Yatra and population control bill
CM Yogi said that the last time, on his proposal, the Kanwar Yatra was cancelled by Kanwar Sanghs. Even this year, their proposal was presented in court, the government did not impose. The state of UP was against stopping the Yatra forcefully till the last moment.
Talking about the population control bill, CM said that there would be steps taken to control the population in the state, and the bill is in the public domain for comments. The population policy and Act are different things.