The employees were at leisure in Jawahar Bhawan, the building in Lucknow housing over a dozen government departments, when the other day the discussions veered to Congress’ performance in three states where results of assembly elections were announced recently. Over a dozen employees were seen animatedly analysing the results of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattiagarh states where the Congress wrested power from Bharatiya Janata Party and this result’s broader implications in the parliamentary election which is round the corner. Expectedly, the discussions soon shifted to the BJP government’s performance in Uttar Pradesh and the possible scenarios in 2019. Surprisingly, all of them were unanimous that the Yogi Adityanath government’s performance in UP was dismal. They were of the view that the state government had done more harm to the government employees than doing something good for them. Some of them believed that the Yogi government was more concerned about Lord Ram, Ayodhya and cow than its employees and the aam aadmi.
It was an amazing sight as no one can even think of government employees bashing the ruling party, that too during duty hours! Generally, the state employees avoid discussing the functioning of the government because of the fear that someone may report it to the seniors, earning wrath of ruling party or the government. But the way these staffers continued with their discussions reflected the brewing resentment against the government.
Is this resentment limited only to government employees? The answer is no. The traders are angry the way the Narendra Modi government has implemented the Goods and Services Tax in an “insensible” manner. Even there are talks of people losing jobs because of demonetisation when 86 per cent of the Indian currency was culled in one go. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) in its recent report claimed that 3.5 million people lost their jobs because of demonetisation.
Why is this government facing flake from the people? Is it because the party and the government have harped more on Hindutava? Was this done with a design because the BJP wants to capitalise on the support of the majority community as there is a thinking in the party that Muslims never vote for BJP hence why waste the energy and time on them? Probably this is why Yogi Adityanath, who is the mahant of the prestigious Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur, was appointed as the Chief Minister of the state. Yogi is also a star campaigner of the ruling party and was given prominence after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah. He campaigned aggressively in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan People close to Yogi claim that he had a good strike rate in the election campaign. He addressed 74 election meetings in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and party won 49 seats. Some say the strike rate is better than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but no one is ready to officially accept this.
The bigger question is if Yogi has such a huge charisma why is he failing to deliver. Why he is losing grip over state bureaucracy which is time and again failing to deliver. The only plausible reason could be that the Chief Minister is looking at the development through the prism of religion. He has been a mahant for last 30-odd years. His thinking revolves around religion and Hindutava. He believes that society can be made stronger if the roots of Hindutava are entrenched deep in the minds of majority community. So, Ayodhya has taken a centre stage since Yogi came to power. And the politics has started revolving around cow..
This thinking however has proved to be an albatross around the neck of Yogi and his government. In the name of cow protection, self-promoted cow vigilante groups have started harassing people. People with cow were beaten up with the results traditional cow melas have suddenly vanished. The farmers are facing stray cattle menace which are devouring the ready crop giving a body blow to the farm economy. In western Uttar Pradesh farmers have started locking the stray cattle inside schools, PHCs compound or in any government building so as to protect crop.
In this scenario, the work has been cut out for the Yogi government as well as the BJP leadership. They need to deliver to win back the confidence of the people back. With the BJP and its governments raising the aspirations of the people several notches, through slogans like `achche din’ no wonder the masses see not much betterment in the promised quality of life, particularly in cities despite government doing its best. The need of the hour is for the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh to look beyond Ram, Ayodhya and cow.