Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday said that his government fared well in the first six months amid challenges from various corners since it came to power after receiving a strong mandate in March.
The chief minister, in a freewheeling chat with ETV-Network 18, however, said that his work got tougher as the SP, BSP governments before had derailed the entire administrative system of the state.
Gorakhpur tragedy was sensationalised
The chief minister also said that the deaths of 60 children in Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College was “unnecessarily sensationalised” by the media and that his administration was not responsible for their deaths.
Adityanath said that a large section of media had reported wrong figures. “The day a media house reported 60 deaths, only 11 deaths had occurred.”
Adityanath also said that the deaths of children were “linked incorrectly with oxygen-shortage by media”.
“No one reported that our government has provided encephalitis vaccine to lakhs of children. The fact is that this year the figure of deaths due to encephalitis is almost half in comparison to previous years. The data is there for everyone to see how many deaths occurred at BRD Hospital due to encephalitis in the last few years. Our government is just six months old, and we are working rapidly to improve the infrastructure of the state which also includes medical facilities. I am sure in the coming years this mortality rate will go down for sure,” he said.
On 10 August this year, first reports of children deaths started trickling in. At least 63 children lost their lives at Baba Raghav Das Medical College, Gorakhpur, Chief Minister Adityanath’s home constituency.
It was alleged that oxygen supplier had cut off the gas supply after the state government failed to repay a debt of more than Rs 60 lakh. The official report by the chief secretary, however, denied there was a shortage of oxygen in the hospital.
The government has so far arrested nine people in related to the case, the latest being Uday Pratap Sharma, a clerk of the BRD Medical College on Thursday, near Gorakhpur railway station.
The chief minister said that the primary reason behind encephalitis was the unhygienic atmosphere.
BSP, SP commercialised crime, criminalised politics
Adityanath criticised Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh of having no pro-people political agenda, and for criminalising politics and commercialising crime. He also held the nepotism and corrupt policies of SP and BSP for sending it to the bottom.
“The entire system had derailed by the time we took over. I can tell you about the two biggest changes we’ve brought in these six months of governance. First, we’ve introduced a new work culture in our system and ended the old babudom. Secondly, we’ve instilled hope and security among the masses. There is renewed vigour and energy among people,” the chief minister said.
“UP was the top state in most indices, of the country when we achieved Independence and we are now at the bottom. But we will change this and bring UP on the top. To begin with, we are focusing on reviving agriculture and setting up job-creating manufacturing projects,” he said giving a glimpse of the nature of policies that UP government will roll out in future.
Aggressive policing to continue
Adityanath also said that despite criticism, the ‘aggressive policing’ policy of his government will continue to shoo away criminals from the state. “If criminals fire bullets, they will get bullets. Our police will no longer sit quiet,” he said, adding that as soon as his government was sworn-in, on 19 March, a strong message was sent to anti-social elements.
“Most gangsters had started feeling the heat as soon as the BJP formed the government in Uttar Pradesh. Some even surrendered outside the state. We are very clear about imposing a strict law and order regime. A message has been sent out to goons that we will follow an aggressive policing system. If goons fire they will get retaliatory fire,” Adityanath said.
Adityanath has come a long way from being a mahant and five-term MP to become the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India.
The CM said that not just law and order but even normal governance had collapsed during the 17-year-long rule of SP and BSP.
Hindutva is soul of India
Equating Hindutva with humanitarianism, Adityanath said that the Sangh Parivar’s ideology is the soul of India and that there is a need to understand Hindutva.
When questioned about the fears of Hindutvisation of academics, especially in the context of the ongoing exercise to change the syllabus of schools and universities, Adityanath said that there’s nothing negative about embracing Hindutva, which is a “way of life”.
“There is a need to change the syllabus of primary and basic schools which are outdated. But there would be no agenda behind this except providing the best education. We must, however, need to understand Hindutva, which is nothing else but humanitarian, which accepts everyone.”
On school reforms, Adityanath said his government was working towards solving the problem of shortage of teachers. “Today, there are almost 1.58 lakh primary schools in the state and I would like to accept that there is a shortage of teachers. Our government is continuously working towards solving this problem and teachers are being appointed to improve the teacher-student ratio of Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
He also emphasised on the School Chalo Abhiyan, which, according to him, has helped in improving enrollment in primary schools. “When we came to power, there were around 1.36 crore students in the primary schools of Uttar Pradesh. Today there are 1.54 crore, thanks to campaigns like School Chalo Abhiyan. Also, our government has made 1000 model schools,” said the chief minister.