Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya speaks to Governance now on how the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has fared so far:
You have come up with a report card of your 100 days in office after a humungous victory in Uttar Pradesh. Please share with us some of your experiences and achievement.
I can sum up our achievements in last 100 days by telling you that we have done work in some sectors in 100 days that Akhileshji’s government failed to achieve in five years.
Which sectors would this be?
We have purchased around 40 lakh tonnes of wheat from farmers. We have deposited money directly in farmers’ accounts through RTGS. We have achieved record success in settling the payments of sugarcane farmers – I can say it’s the biggest in UP since independence. Coming to roads, what can we call the roads here in the state: are they potholes on roads or roads around potholes? We have identified 1.23 lakh kilometres of bad, potholed roads and our government has constructed 80,000 kilometres of roads before our June 16 deadline, a record in itself. There were only a few VIP districts in Uttar Pradesh which were given 24 hours’ power supply, while others received just 8-10 hours of power. Since we have come to power, the entire state is getting 24-hour power supply. Even in rural areas, we are ensuring 18-20 hours of electricity per day. When a transformer used to get burnt earlier, it would take months to get it repaired. Now, we ensure that transformers must get replaced in 24 hours in cities and in 48 hours in villagers. We have formed an anti-land mafia task force to crackdown on those who grab land illegally or encroach. We are only making lists of such names till now and I am ensuring that action will be tougher than your expectations on all those who will be found involved in land-grabbing. We have managed to put a break on the illegal slaughterhouses in UP, which is a record as well. The anti-romeo squad is one of the biggest successes we had in women’s safety. Our attempt has got huge appreciation from people from all walks of life. Now women are able to walk freely in the state.
The BJP government has set up inquiries in various development projects that were completed in the tenure of the Samajwadi Party government. There’s the Agra-Lucknow highway project, for instance, or the Gomti beautification project.
It was part of our election manifesto that we would have the scams investigated, scams that have taken place in the last 14 years. Not only that, we will ensure that the culprits will be punished. Some CBI investigations are also on. Some investigations are being monitored at our personal level and some by government officials. Culprits should be ready for more such action in future.
The BJP was in protest mode through the tenure of the last government, especially on law and order. Your government now lauds its efforts in controlling crime. But on the ground, it hasn’t changed much. Murders, thefts, rapes happen at the same pace. Even in Gorakhpur, a murder took place recently around the time the CM visited the town. What would you like to say?
We never said that we have stopped crime. But you cannot deny that criminals are afraid these days and common people are happy. We have managed to create fear in criminals: that’s an achievement. Some big criminals had political protection of the Samajwadi Party. In the BJP, there is no such system; criminals know that no one will favour them.
Is the BJP getting full cooperation from the bureaucracy and police? What are the problems and what is your government doing?
I will not say that we are not getting cooperation from the police or bureaucrats. The police has started registering cases. So it is with bureaucrats. The motto and aim of our government is so clear that everyone is bound to cooperate with us.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath faced two major controversies in the 100 days: one of having an air-conditioner installed at the house of a soldier for his visit and then having it removed within hours. The other was of distribution of soap and shampoo to dalits.
Maharaj-ji is the CM. There are some protocols that come with the post. Those arrangements were done due to that protocol. Had it been the case that Maharaj-ji may have announced that he has given those facilities to the family, and then if we had removed the AC, there would have been space for criticism. If Maharaj-ji didn’t have respect for the martyr, he wouldn’t have gone to his house. But if some arrangements have been done for the CM as per protocol, it shouldn’t have been blown out of proportion by the media. That wasn’t news at all.
The UP government has waived farmers’ loans. How will you ensure that this benefit will reach the truly needy?
We have waived Rs 36,000 crore in loans of 86 lakh farmers. Those farmers will not be given money in their hand to deposit in banks. It will all be on papers and certificates will be given to the beneficiaries at block-level programmes.
What is your message to people of Uttar Pradesh?
We, under the guidance of PM Narendra Modi and CM Yogi Adityanath, are dedicated to the people and we will fulfill all the promises we have made. The opposition is frustrated, disappointed, and sad. And it seems they are unlikely to regain power in the near future. So they are up to things that are unbecoming of responsible politicians. They will try to create strife. But we will try to bring about development for all 22 crore residents of UP – without any differentiation.
Your views on the Hindu Yuva Vahini?
The Hindu Yuva Vahini is not a part of BJP. It’s a self-proclaimed organisation and we have nothing to do with it.
Why does it then use Yogiji’s photos on their posters and his name in their campaigns?
I have no idea why they use the CM’s face in their advertisements. Yogiji is a leader of BJP and its head in UP. The Yuva Vahini and BJP have nothing to do with each other.
(The interview appears in the July 16-31, 2017 issue of Governance Now)