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U.P. on the way to become Uttam Pradesh

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Akhilesh Shukla
Akhilesh Shukla
More Bharatiya than normal Indian :) A Non Resident Indian, whose soul wanders around Bharat Varsh!! A Project Management & Project Controls professional; interests in History, Society & Geo Political events. I'm generally "right' of the right-of-the-centre :)

I predicted, in April’2014, that NDA getting full majority in 2014 General Elections with BJP scaling to 272 of its own, proven true, with BJP getting 282 on its own while NDA got 336.

Similarly, from initial days of Anna movement, I was fully convinced that Kejriwal is fake and a political ploy and in no case a natural outcome of a genuine political movement. I wrote about it regularly way back in 2012.

With such confidence, I dare to predict a glorious future of U.P. the most populous state of India. UP which was producing half of India’s GDP in 1947, is now 4th after Maharashtra, TN & Karnataka. With vast natural resources, entrepreneurial population and high yield agricultural land UP should have been leading the pack. Sadly, UP, while it has always been the center of political movements and experiments, was never given due attention on industrial and agricultural developments.

With Yogi at the helm of affairs, knowing the state from within, I can foresee that U.P. is getting number two position within 3 years, and leading the GSDP list in next 10 years. This indeed is going to change the national growth trajectory as well, for good.

Following figures clearly indicate the importance of this state (U.P.) on its standing in ‘world order’. Once it starts growing with the rate it deserves, not only Indian growth trajectory will significantly improve but it will have its positive impact on global growth as well.

The reason why BJP won splendidly and why Yogi’s selection as CM is no more an ordinary political event is discussed in my two previous articles. In the last and final submission of this UP trilogy, I will discuss how recent events, mainly having Yogi as CM of the state, are paving way for it becoming growth engine to India, and an Uttam Pradesh.

Visionary Leadership

I have no help to offer to people who can’t see a person beyond his attire, or to be more specific, people who have latent discomfort with saffron color. Yogi is saffron, he is unapologetic, lets talk beyond that.

There are two types of leaders we have: one, the regular types, who are in politics for it being a profitable & powerful business; second, a rare breed, who are in politics to change the society for good. Obviously, former are in plenty while we need microscope to search the later ones. Yogi indeed belongs to later variety of politicians, a blessing to the state of UP, and in all probability a future PM of India.

Yogi, like Modi, has a vision. Recent steps taken by him, firmness in decision making, speed of implementations, clearly show his intent of purpose. He knows his goals, has a time line to achieve with clear roadmap. With No nonsense execution style, no wonder everyone believes in his word; that’s rare but soothing in present political dispensation.

When Modi promises a development goal, I take it with pinch of salt, but believe, in toto, when Yogi gives me a date of delivery. It’s not politics of one being superior to other but mere governance system of India. A PM has lesser opportunity, other than through overall policy framework, to touch and improve everyday lives of people than a CM. A CM through local bodies and other numerous instruments of governance can entirely change the fate of people in his state. Icing on the cake is when there is a supportive, in this case over supportive, central administration.

Honest Administration

The most important instrument in line to achieve the governance goals is honest administration. A corrupt system of governance is curse to a society. It will not let grow a society even if it has everything, from visionary leadership to abundant resources. Sadly, in UP, corruption is ingrained to the core of system. Saddest part is, people take corruption as inseparable part of their lifestyle-accepted as way of life, bribing has become no more a sign of corruption but ‘ease of business’ mechanism. Corrupts are no more a taboo in society but regarded as ‘successful’ people.

Imagine, new administration, as a first step of governance, has to ask its employees to attend office on time, work full working hours in their work places, request teachers to teach, doctors to see patients in hospitals, devise innovative mechanism to ensure state employees attend work, stay there. This is when they, state (public sector) workers, are comparatively well paid and well taken care of by public exchequer.

How pity, how disgraceful, how miserable!

That was the case till March 26th 2017.

There are all signs indicating a change in approach of this new government, headed by Yogi, from the day one. Yogi is not only honest but his moral inviolability makes him incorruptible. He is in a mission mode. He has moral uprightness, thanks to Sanatan Parampara and Dharm, impervious to ordinary materialistic deviations. Like a true Yogi, he is, he shall be, honest not just ordinarily honest but honest, as said in yogic parlance, with Man (thought process), Vachan (discourse) & Karm (action).

There is a practical side too for him being an honest administrator.

Generally corruption emanates from the top, through nepotism, through numerous Chachas & Bhatijas, through dynasties, through family members and above all due to greed of accumulation for rainy days. Yogi has nothing of this sort- he has no family to favor, he is a sanyasi who is beyond any amassing; interestingly he even doesn’t change his outfit with change of weather.

Effective Law & Order

Effective Law & Order is important not only to deliver developmental agenda of the administration, but also to have a better image of the administration. Rightly so, anti-Romeo squad was his first action. This act alone, talk to anyone in UP, helped in two ways; one, there is genuine sigh of relief to ordinary citizens for there was real nuisance by thugs primarily encouraged by previous governments; second,  it enhanced the image of this administration from ‘can-do’ to being ‘will do’.

If one tracks the activities of UP police in last few weeks and months, there’s significant change in their morale, interaction with citizenry and outcomes, all for good indeed. Thanas are now less crowded by ruling party thugs, corrupt policemen are being shunted and there’s a general positive atmosphere to law & order.

Notwithstanding above good imagery, it will take enormous efforts, both administrative and social, to bring back the normalcy in law & order of the state. Corruption in law enforcing machinery, as said earlier, is ingrained to the core of system.

Yog Does Help

It’s no joke; yes Yog does help in achieving more. From a pure management point of view, Yog enhances one’s concentration level, assimilate a wider perspective to the issues and provides a Dharmik resolution process. A section of media, or society, may have issues with word Dharmik, as they do have problem with saffron color of Yogi’s outfit, majority of UP natives, the voters, the ordinary folks, don’t care. A Dharmik perspective, much beyond the narrow religiosity, to the harrowing problems of the state will not only solve the issues, but ensure a long term resolutions in a true ‘sabka saath-sabka vikas’ framework. A Ramrajya of Yogi is no different than a modern secular, in real terms not an appeasing state, democratic administration.

People, first and foremost, desire an impeccable law & order situation, employment for all and basic development in terms of water, power and roads. If this administration can provide that, which in my opinion it will, people are going to reward them with repeated terms in office, as in states of Gujrat and MP.

Young & Quick Learner

One of perturbing pattern in India is, it has been ruled mostly by old, almost outdated, leaders. It is common sense that the best performing years of human life is 30 to 60 years, but sadly we get our leaders in their 70s. What a mockery in our system wherein you are fit to work only till 60 as an employee but fit to rule and fit to make rules in parliament till eternity. Average age of upper house (Rajya Sabha) is 63 years, while Loksabha has only 53% its MPs under age 55. Per reports, current, 16th, Lok Sabha is oldest one in history. No wonder we have been a sluggish, slow moving, reactive not proactive nation.

In this context it is encouraging to see a young leader to rule the most populous state with majorly a young population. Yogi is young and he is a quick learner. Quick learning, unlearning and relearning is sign to long term sustainability for him to stay here and govern. One example will be pertinent; within days of his anti-romeo drive once he learns harassment of genuine couples by overenthusiastic police, he instantly issued orders to not disturb genuine people and other guidelines to follow. This helped not only in curbing police atrocities in making it another money-minting exercise but also giving general public an impression that this government has its ears on ground.

Support & Supervision of Modi, the Master

In the days of political onemanship it is difficult to get a supportive central leadership. Good for Yogi, he has active support of Amit Shah the Party chief and PM Modi. While this bonhomie may have limited political life but current scenario is perfectly poised to support Yogi in fixing UP issues and bring it back to path of development. For Shah & Modi, road to 2019 victory goes via UP and hence Yogi is vital instrument in achieving this goal. For Yogi, failure to achieve stellar performance like in 2014 will cut short his political journey, at least during the Shah-Modi era. On the other hand, if he achieves 2019 goals, wins 2022, no wonder we will see him in a bigger role in 2024. While political pundits might be juggling conflicts between Yogi and Modi, I see a Dharmic bond between two and foresee thriving relationship beyond political milieu.

The pitfalls

The picture is however not as rosy as I have just portrayed, above. There are number of pitfalls which Yogi has to overcome in achieving his dream to make UP an Uttam Pradesh.

Corruption is gravely deep-rooted in the system, removing it or even tampering it to normalcy, will need enormous management and intellectual competencies from the leadership. Yogi will have an interesting time ahead, to succeed or to succumb to it, time only will tell.

Even if Yogi as a leader remains steadfast, the targets of development cannot be achieved without a full hearted support of bureaucracy. It will need mammoth efforts to transform a rusted and almost pathetic Babudom to a high performing team. Imagine the context- expecting a lifelong corrupt engineer/Babu/clerk (to name a few) to not only give up his Ghoos but also work harder within his meagre salary, is no less than a day dream.

Cast based politics is a sad reality in Indian politics. Yogi while I believe is beyond this pitfall but, chances are he may succumb to narrow lanes of caste & identity politics. There are already efforts to make him icon of Thakur lobby. It’s a two edged sword, caste & identity politics may give instant political benefits, it hence looks so alluring, but in long term it can only produce a local leader, a caste centric leader. Caste & identity politics can make you a Mayawati, or a Mulayam Singh at best but not a Narendra Modi. Hope Yogi knows it well, and does not get trapped in it.

People may change their mindset too and stop supporting Yogi, even on a simple pretext. Remember these very people change their political loyalty for a laptop or a cycle. They, some of them if not all, sell their votes for a Saree, a few rupees, or a bottle of liquor. A tough decision, however inevitable for long term solutions, may shift their allegiance from Yogi to someone else, with shallower but lucrative offers of mobiles, smart-watches, or even a TV set.

However, I am of the belief that Yogi, with his enormous dharmik energy, will overcome all pitfalls, and rise to the occasion. I can foresee a change, a substantial change, in the state. In coming years, we will see transformation happening. Let’s wish Yogi good luck and support him, in his good initiatives, for his Bhagirath mission.

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Akhilesh Shukla
Akhilesh Shukla
More Bharatiya than normal Indian :) A Non Resident Indian, whose soul wanders around Bharat Varsh!! A Project Management & Project Controls professional; interests in History, Society & Geo Political events. I'm generally "right' of the right-of-the-centre :)
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