The Monk Who Transformed Uttar Pradesh. Shantanu Gupta. Garuda Prakashan. 2021. Pages 250. Rs 299.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath has brought sanctity, honesty, a sense of meritocracy and kept people’s welfare as the centre of his governance.
In a new book on his five years of work – The Monk Who Transformed Uttar Pradesh — author Shantanu Gupta argues, how the presence of a saint at the highest office in Uttar Pradesh has brought wide ranging changes in the way Uttar Pradesh has been governed for decades.
Here are a few excerpts from the book.
Akhilesh And Mayawati Ordered Luxury Cars From Taxpayers’ Money, Yogi Used Old Car
The first file that came to Yogi Adityanath as he assumed office of Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh was about the purchase of a new luxury vehicle for his movement. His officers explained to him that it was the precedent set by previous chief ministers to start their tenures with a new luxury car bought with taxpayers’ money.
Two of his predecessors — SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati — had given the go-ahead for new luxury cars for themselves as soon as they assumed office.
The government had acquired a Land Cruiser for Rs 1 crore (the cost at that time) for Mayawati during her 2007-2012 tenure, while Akhilesh ordered two Mercedes Benz cars for himself worth Rs 6.9 crore with taxpayers’ money.
Yogi Adityanath had outrightly rejected the proposal of the estate department to purchase two Mercedes Benz SUVs for him and his fleet. Yogi cancelled the file at the first go and asked his officers to use the five-year-old vehicle used by his predecessor.
He just requested for a small addition to the old vehicle — to add a saffron cover to his seat. For him, saffron denotes renunciation or disinterestedness, which represents his idea of politics — to be indifferent to material gains and completely dedicate himself to his work.
In contrast, Akhilesh Yadav, Yogi’s predecessor in Uttar Pradesh tried to do a life-time personal wealth planning while being the CM of the state. In 2016, Akhilesh Yadav passed a law in Uttar Pradesh’s state assembly for providing lifetime housing to former chief ministers.
Fortunately, in 2018, the Supreme Court (SC) struck down the law brought by Akhilesh Yadav and he had to vacate the government residence.
Even while vacating the government residence, Akhilesh Yadav brought a disgrace to the position of ex-Chief Minister as he left the government house allotted to him in a mess — with a damaged pool and missing taps.
How Yogi Made UP Ministers Pay Their Income Tax Like Any Citizen
In 1981, V P Singh, when he was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, enacted a law in UP, that ensures that the state’s chief minister and ministers don’t pay any income tax themselves.
As per the 1981 Act, the income tax of all the UP ministers was paid by the UP government, as a perk of being a minister. When Yogi assumed office in UP, this 40-year practice of not paying taxes was continuing. It is noteworthy that Ex-CM from BSP, Mayawati, is worth Rs 111 crore as per her affidavit for the Rajya Sabha polls in 2012 and Ex-CM from SP Akhilesh Yadav, owns assets worth over Rs 37 crore together with his wife Dimple, according to the affidavit filed for the recent Lok Sabha polls.
But neither Akhilesh nor Mayawati, bothered about UP’s government treasury. Yogi Adityanath believed that when common man pays income tax and contributes in the national development, why not the Chief Minister and ministers of UP?
Yogi government has decided that ministers will start paying their own income tax, ending a four-decade-old practice of the state exchequer shelling out the amount annually for the UP ministers’ income taxes.
Parivar-vaad Of Akhilesh vs Vikasvad Of Yogi Adityanath
Personal propriety and non-corruptibility are signature trademarks for politicians like Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath. Their politics caters to the people, who voted them to power and not to their own families. While researching for my previous book on Yogi Adityanath, I had to struggle hard to even reach out to the family members of Yogi Adityanath.
Among his six siblings, someone is a school teacher in a village school, another one runs a small tea stall on the way to Neelkanth temple and one is a subedar in the Army.
In contrast, at the peak of his politics, Mulayam Singh Yadav had dozens of his direct family members at the helm of politics in UP. Mulayam Singh Yadav himself was a member of Parliament several times and Chief Minister of UP for three terms.
Akhilesh Yadav was the Chief Minister of UP and multiple times MP from different seats in UP. Dimple Yadav, Akhilesh’s wife, was a MP from Kannauj.
Aparna Yadav, wife of Mulayam's another son Prateek Yadav, contested the 2017 assembly elections from the coveted Lucknow Cantt seat on a Samajwadi Party ticket.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s youngest brother, Shivpal Singh Yadav, was an MLA and minister in UP. Shivpal Singh Yadav’s son Aditya Yadav was Chairman of UP Cooperative Federation.
Dharmendra Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s another brother Abhay Ram Yadav has been a three-time MP from UP. Vandana Yadav, Dharmedra Yadav’s sister-in-law, was chairperson of Zilla Panchayat from Hamirpur.
Sheela Yadav, Abhay Ram Yadav’s daughter, has been a member of a district development council. Sandhya Yadav, Abhay Ram Yadav’s another daughter has been Chairperson of Zilla Panchayat from Mainpuri.
The wife and son of Rajpal Yadav, another brother of Mulayam Singh Yadav – Premlata and Abhishek respectively – have been president and chairmen of district panchayat from Etawah district.
Tej Pratap Singh Yadav (not the son of Lalu Prasad Yadav, the former Chief Minister of Bihar), son of Mulayam’s another brother Ratan Singh Yadav, has been an MP from Mainpuri.
Tej Pratap Singh Yadav is also married to Raj Laxmi, the youngest daughter of fodder scam convict Lalu Prasad Yadav, the former Bihar CM.
Mridula Yadav, daughter-in-law of Ratan Singh Yadav, has been member of block development council from Saifai. Ram Gopal Yadav, the cousin of Mulayam Singh Yadav has been a member of Rajya Sabha since 1992.
Ram Gopal Yadav’s son, Akshay Yadav, has been an MP from Firozabad in UP.
Apologies for making my readers dizzy in this web of names of the Yadav clan, but that has been the nepotistic politics of Samajwadi Party in UP till Yogi arrived on the scene in 2017.
While praising UP CM Yogi Adityanath, PM Narendra Modi in his speech in Kashi in July 2021 perfectly summed it up saying that earlier UP had only bhai-bhatijavad (politics of a family), and now it has vikasvaad (the politics of development).
Police Recruitments – Yogi Valued Merit Over Caste vs Akhilesh did Yadavization of UP Police
The Uttar Pradesh police has a sanctioned strength of 3 lakh police personnel. But it was working with only half of the capacity in the times of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav.
Recruitments during their regimes were marred by scams, favouritism and corruption and were challenged in the court multiple times that hampered the pace of the recruitment process miserably.
During the tenure of Akhilesh Yadav, journalist Subhash Mishra did a detailed investigative story in 2014, titled – ‘Yadavization of UP cops behind anarchy’, which presented the rot Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh brought to the state police force.
Mishra wrote how, to appease its vote-base, the SP leadership has followed a politics of patronage and rewarded Yadav clansmen with key posts in UP’s police machinery.
As per his investigation, in many districts of UP, particularly those under the influence of the ruling Yadav family, nearly 60 per cent police stations were headed by Yadav officers.
For example in Badaun, where two minor girls were raped and hanged during Akhilesh’s time, 16 out of 22 police stations were headed by Yadav officers.
Those days, Badaun was represented by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s cousin Dharmendra Yadav in the Lok Sabha. Also, all five men accused of rape and murder of the two teenagers were Yadavs.
Subhash Mishra reported that the demographic profile of UP’s 1,527 police stations and outposts was changed within the first two years of SP coming to power in 2012.
In Kanpur, for instance, Yadavs were heading as many as 25 police stations out of 36. In Lucknow, more than 50 per cent station officers were Yadavs.
In Kannauj, represented by then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav in Lok Sabha then, there were five Yadav Station Officers (SOs) among the nine police stations.
Similarly, Farrukhabad had seven Yadav SOs in 14 police stations and Etawah had nine Yadav SOs in 20 police stations.
Most district police chiefs read the trend and likings of the then Chief Minister and started posting Yadav officers in key positions to earn brownie points from the ‘first family’ (The ruling Yadav family).
It became an unwritten rule that 50 per cent of inspectors and SHOs have to be Yadavs in every district.
Also, many IPS officers close to the ruling Yadav family were brought to UP from outside the state. Yashaswi Yadav of the Maharashtra cadre became Kanpur police chief.
Later, he was removed when the Allahabad High Court intervened in a doctors’ strike case which was allegedly triggered by Yashaswi Yadav’s high-handedness.
Pradip Yadav was brought in to UP from Punjab cadre. Later, a sting operation by a TV channel showed him drunk inside a hotel and he was removed during elections on the orders of the Election Commission.
Unfortunately, when caste, and not merit, became the driver behind the appointment of police officers in Akhilesh’s regime, premium on policing reduced drastically in the state.
If the accused are of the same caste as law enforcers, and the law enforcers have got their jobs because of their caste, then there is a good chance that the investigations could be influenced.
After 2017, Yogi Adityanath had the huge challenge to set the police recruitment process right with complete fairness and transparency. In Yogi Adityanath’s tenure, an unprecedented 1.37 lakh police personnel were recruited, trained and placed in the field.
Finally, UP police got the sanctioned strength of close to 3 lakh police staff. Recruitment was so fair and transparent, that not a single complaint or case was filed against it.
As a result, by the year 2020, there was a reduction of 70.1 per cent in dacoity cases in the state, 69.3 per cent reduction in loot cases in the state, 29.1 per cent reduction in murder cases, 52 per cent reduction in rape cases in the state, 41 per cent reduction in kidnapping cases and 11.6 per cent reduction in dowry deaths.
Shantanu Gupta is the biographer of UP CM Yogi Adityanath. His book is titled, ‘The Monk Who Became Chief Minister’. ‘Uttar Pradesh Vikas Ki Pratiksha Mein’, has been published by Bloomsbury. He tweets at @shantanug_ and his website is www.shantanugupta.in
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!