UP-wallas deserve a peaceful life and Yogi Adityanath is in a position to ensure that more than any other politician in his chair.
A peaceful, violence-free environment is the first essential for progress in any part of the world. And I can’t imagine anyone could have a contrary view on that except of course terrorists and those who thrive on violence. But viewed from a purely political standpoint also, it is in Yogi Adityanath’s best interest to ensure a peaceful, riot-free, violence-free Uttar Pradesh if he wants to be the proverbial long distance runner.
The reasons are quite simple and relate to the situation when the saffron-clad Yogi was handed over the reins of India’s largest state after much suspense over who would be Chief Minister. One needs to go back to all those editorials and opinions penned at that time questioning the choice. The international media, of course, went to an extreme almost declaring that UP was now a theocratic state since the head of a Math had taken oath as the Chief Minister. These global columnists forgot to ‘Google’ that the Yogi had been directly elected by the voters to the Lower House of the Indian Parliament five times in a row and was not just an experienced but also one of the most regular and active parliamentarians. In any case, Google only tells you what you ‘like’ to know.
The CM’s own words clearly saying that anarchy would not be tolerated in any form has come at the right time.
But our own Indian media wasn’t very different. There were enough doomsday predictions crying hoarse about the Yogi’s brand of politics and all that. With extreme opinions becoming the order of the day, some predicted total gloom while others declared that Modi’s successor was on his way. Being a resident of Uttar Pradesh, I can say that the differences from the previous regime may not be miraculous but they are showing in small day-to-day affairs all the time. Nobody dares to keep you awake with DJ Nights anymore. The lower bureaucracy has started insisting on online services, obviously not just for convenience but to discourage the touts lurking everywhere. The police is not only responsive. It has actually started asking for suggestions from common citizens like us. One can even look back at the typical nukkad wala gunda with more confidence now. Cops are upbeat as the gangsters are either in jail or running for their lives.
It is in this backdrop that Kasganj should have us worried. The violence should serve as a reminder that social faultlines need to be repaired with a sustained and round the clock vigil. Just passing orders from above is never enough. I do not know how often or effectively is monitoring being done by the Chief Minister and his team of officers. But lowering the guard would be a strict no-no. No one can forget the confidence and support which was visible on the faces of the voters every time Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of complete politicisation of the thanas during the UP election campaign. Obviously, it struck the right chord. The results were ample proof of that. He also raised the issue of an unresponsive, callous, caste-biased and community-biased administration and that too had its impact as the results so well showed.
It is, therefore, incumbent upon the Yogi and his team to ensure that the same complaints are not heard again. The arrest of Salim, named in the FIR by the Chandan Gupta’s father, restores some confidence in the otherwise tense atmosphere. The CM’s own words clearly saying that anarchy would not be tolerated in any form has come at the right time. However, there is much scope for improvement in the administration still. It is also about establishing the fear of authority in the minds of the local administration rightly referred to as ‘Iqbaal’ in local terms.
I think special efforts are needed to instill confidence and social sense of responsibility among the youth.
One effective way this can be done is by ensuring no caste bias is visible in the day-to-day dealings of the administration. Ditto for the community. It is here that special vigilance is needed. There is no doubt that an excess dose of appeasement has shattered our communal fabric and planted permanent seeds of discord and mistrust. One reason the BJP got the kind of mandate that it did was because UP Hindus wanted freedom from the excesses of minority appeasement. To set things right Yogi must exercise ‘eternal vigilance’ so that he doesn’t pander to any elements which may give the other side (the minorities) an opportunity to voice a similar complaint. That makes the Yogi’s position much more precarious than the previous regimes but then this is a responsibility that the massive mandate has bestowed on him.
A tight leash on the police and administration may be complemented by encouraging people from all communities to start programmes and campaigns which can inspire mutual confidence and trust among communities in Uttar Pradesh. Such social campaigns and initiatives can go hand in hand with a responsive, fair and open-minded administrative machinery. It would not be a bad idea to involve reasonable, experienced, well-thinking religious leaders with the initiatives. I think special efforts are needed to instil confidence and social sense of responsibility among the youth whose restiveness or feeling of victimhood should be a matter of worry for all of us.
UP-wallas deserve a peaceful, violence-free, riot-free life and Yogi Adityanath is in a position to ensure that more than any other politician in his chair.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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