Before 2017, for almost two decades, whenever the results of the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha elections were declared, most people already knew who would hold the reins of power in the state. The reason was simple. The two parties that won the elections during this period were under the absolute control of an individual or a family, thus making it evident that who would take oath as the chief minister.
However, a major break from this trend took place in 2017 when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) earned a massive mandate in the assembly elections. Following the results, there was a sense of uncertainty among all BJP workers as to who would be chosen as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh— the state that has given the party several popular and powerful leaders.
From an ordinary party worker to big leaders, all were asking the same question.
This uncertainty prevailed until the last moment and then Yogi Adityanath was announced as the 22nd chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Yogi Adityanath was a Member of Parliament for two decades but never held a ministerial post either at the Centre or in the state, a fact that made some people raise questions on his nomination as the CM of India’s most populous state.
However, three years later all doubts have been dispelled and uncertainty has given place to stability and confidence.
In just three years, Yogi Adityanath, through his strong leadership and vision has placed Uttar Pradesh on a development path that no one had ever thought of. He has been taking decisions with all firmness that is in the best interests of the people of his state.
In India Today's Mood of the Nation (MOTN) survey published in January this year, Yogi Adityanath was voted as the best chief minister for the second time in a row.
This is not only a proof of his growing popularity but also reflects the confidence of the people in his leadership. It shows that the development path taken by Uttar Pradesh under his leadership is honouring Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s motto of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas'.
In 2017, when Yogi Adityanath was elected the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, a biased narrative, coloured by extreme prejudice, was built against him in no time. This narrative was based on the assumption that his religious identity would be a major hurdle in the discharge of his duties as CM of the state.
A question was raised that whether Yogi Adityanath who dons a saffron robe and heads a math will be able to govern Uttar Pradesh, which has a large number of people belonging to the minority community, in an impartial and just manner?
The apt and timely answer to this question was found in every decision of the Yogi government in the last three years. Whether it was about giving all possible help to Muslim women in case of triple talaq, or the decision to help madrassas transform themselves to meet the challenges of changing times or to give land for Urdu University, the Yogi government made every effort for the development of the minority community.
Yogi Adityanath kept the dignity of every word of his chief ministerial oath intact. Every decision was taken only in public interest, without any fear or favour, affection or ill will.
The first condition for ensuring the development of any state is to ensure an effective law-and-order situation and safety of its people. Soon after assuming office, the first step taken by the chief minister's office was to draw a Lakshman Rekha for the criminals and anti-social elements, with the clear message that if they want their own good then they should stay away from the boundaries of the state.
Modernisation of the police force is a very important requirement to ensure effective law and order and a lot of work has been done in this regard in the last three years. In this budget, too, a a provision of Rs 122 crore has been made for the police force modernisation scheme.
People got a glimpse of effective rule of law prevailing in the state during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The Uttar Pradesh police dealt strongly and sternly with the protesters and prevented the demonstrations from spreading to larger parts of the state. The message was clear that this is the Yogi government. 'Yoga' means to add, and this sinister plan to divide and break the country will be dealt with sternly, without any mercy.
A strong leader and an able administrator is known to stand firm with his officers when they are right. Despite several criticisms against the government and police during the protests, the chief minister was seen standing with his police force, which boosted the morale of the police administration.
In the last three years, all the decisions that were taken by the Yogi government— be it related to women's empowerment, creating new employment opportunities for the youth or leading Uttar Pradesh towards a $1 trillion economy— have contributed immensely to the development of the state.
It is also worth noting that while advancing Uttar Pradesh towards modernity and development, the Yogi government has also strengthened its cultural heritage. Since 2017, a grand celebration is being organised on the occasion of Deepawali in Ayodhya. In Kumbh, the management and efficiency of the government was praised by everyone. The Yogi government organised the world's largest religious-cultural fair with great success.
Uttar Pradesh has become so capable today that it is hosting several national and international events. Recently, the Defence Expo in Lucknow was organised brilliantly and successfully. Not only this, but the Yogi government is also working fast to establish a defence industrial corridor. Under this, factories of arms and defence equipment will be set up which is expected to provide employment to about 2.5 lakh people.
It is a matter of great pride for every person associated with Uttar Pradesh. And all this has been made possible due to the decisive leadership and strong political will of chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
The world is currently fighting a war against the novel coronavirus. The Government of India is engaged with full force in dealing with it. And amid all this, Yogi Adityanath has shown great administrative skill to combat this medical emergency. He has also shown great empathy for those at the receiving end of this virus. He has ensured free treatment for anyone infected with the disease. Also, his government has decided that it will provide financial assistance to daily-wage labourers in the state who will be hit by the shutdown that has been put in place to check the spread of the virus.
All the decisions of the Yogi government in the last three years have been for the welfare of everyone. There has been no consideration of caste, creed, gender or religion guiding it. There has been only one basis for all these decisions and that is a firm belief in 'Sarvajan Hitay, Sarvajan Sukhaya'.
Keeping all these things in mind, now, just once, one should question the false narrative that was built in 2017 which asked how a Yogi wearing ochre robes can become the chief minister.
(The author is an MLA in UP Assembly, representing Noida, and general secretary of the BJP's state unit. Views are personal)