Uttar Pradesh’s new chief minister Yogi Adityanath is emulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s model of governance in the country’s most populous state. Or so it seems from the proactive chief minister’s pronouncements and decisions in his first week in office.
Here are some samples of the Yogi’s decisions that may give you a sense of déjà vu:
Biometric attendance in offices: It was first started in Central government offices by the Modi government and now implemented in UP. Yogi’s instructions to babus to put in 18-20 hours every day also echoed Modi’s work ethics for officials.
However, the Prime Minister refrained from spelling out any time frame unlike Adityanath who seems to given unrealistic working hours for Lucknow babus.
Declaration of assets by ministers: The chief minister has asked his ministers and officials to declare their assets, a practice started by the Prime Minister. Central ministers declare their assets every year and it is available on the PMO’s website.
Swachhata oath: The UP CM borrowed a leaf out of Modi’s book on governance to administer an oath of cleanliness to officials. Ministers in UP have been wielding brooms to clean up their offices, something their counterparts at the Centre did after the NDA government came to power.
Power-point presentations: The chief minister has asked bureaucrats to give power-point presentations on the functioning of their ministries every month, an exercise started by the Prime Minister at the Centre.
100-day agenda: After Modi took over the reins of the country, ministers and senior bureaucrats started preparing 100-day and 200-day action plans. They were, however, abandoned later as the government set out to implement its agenda for five years. The UP government has now started working on a 100-day agenda now.
While these decisions of the new chief minister indicated his intention to moderate his image — from a hardcore Hindutva ideologue to a development-oriented politician- the makeover is not going to be easy.
His decisions such as crackdown of slaughterhouses and unleashing of so-called anti-Romeo squads betrayed his willingness to play to the gallery and not compromise his image as UP’s Hindutva mascot.
Government sources in Delhi said that the Centre was not inclined to guide the UP administration even though the mandate in UP was for Modi and his developmental agenda.
“The PM has faith in (BJP) CMs and he gives them a free hand. Let them prove their mettle. How can the Centre intervene in the state administration-directly or indirectly? If you think otherwise, you don’t know Modi,” a senior bureaucrat told HT.
Yogi obviously has his task cut out. He might borrow profusely from Modi’s model of governance, but accountability for its success or failure in UP will be entirely his.