Akhilesh 100 days in office
UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has completed 100 days in office.
The Samajwadi Party was voted to power after defeating the Bahujan
Samaj Party in the assembly elections held early this year.
Akhilesh amid high expectations and
Lucknow: Is the
political honeymoon of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav
over sooner rather than later?
Beginning Monday, as Yadav junior proceeds on a four-day family
vacation at Melbourne, visiting the Healesville Sanctuary and
smelling the roses at the Werribee Mansion, aides believe that he
would also be doing some stock-taking of his three-month tenure in
In the state capital, political circles are rife with discussions
that how Yadav - hailed as the rising crown prince of Uttar
Pradesh politics not so long ago - was fast slipping in public
ratings and losing favour with his party cadres.
This is after two major flip-flops - closure of all shopping malls
by 7 p.m. and the decision to allow legislatures buy cars worth
Rs.20 lakh from their Local Area Development (LAD) funds.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kalraj Mishra, while
refraining from a personal attack on the 39-year-old chief
minister, says the "rating of the Samajwadi Party (SP) government
is on a downslide".
"We had been saying that when the SP is voted to power what all
would happen... People's disenchantment with the government is
more than obvious," Mishra pointed out.
Vijay Bahadur Pathak, spokesman of the state BJP unit, was more
vocal in his criticism of Yadav. Calling him a "roll back" chief
minister, Pathak says Akhilesh Yadav has "earned a sorry
reputation for himself".
Even party insiders feel that a spiralling crime rate, pathetic
law and order and overzealous party cadres ready to claim the pie
for their loyalty has sullied both - the image of the chief
minister and the SP.
Rajendra Chaudhary, a close aide of the chief minister and party
spokesman, however, said that in the first three months the
direction of the government has been set.
"In the first three months, development schemes have been rolled
out and no corruption has taken place in the state," Chaudhary
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav also defended his chief minister
son's tenure and said that three months are too early to draw
"You will have to understand that we inherited a mess from the
previous government, efforts are on to sort things out. Things
will gradually be in place," Yadav senior told IANS.
He also refuted charges that the government was going soft on
former chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati.
During the budget session, the chief minister on the floor of the
assembly refused probes into the sale of 21 sugar mills by her at
throwaway prices and on her splurging public money on her Mall
"Try to understand that corruption will not be tolerated by the SP
government. Probes are on... By acting in haste, we do not want to
send a wrong message that the government is involved in vendetta,"
Mulayam Yadav added.
Party insiders agree that besides the grim power scenario in the
state, the law and order is bothering the state government too.
While the monsoon, an office bearer of the SP says, might lessen
worries of the state government on power front, the "public mood
on law and order" was "more troubling."
Director General of Police (DGP) Ambreesh Chandra Sharma admited
that there is an urgent need to tie up "some lose ends" on the
crime scene. However, he is thankful to his political bosses for
"minimal interference" in transfers and postings of officials in
In view of the sensitive relationship with the SP, Congress
leaders are so far tight-lipped on the chief minister's
performance, especially in the run-up to the crucial July 19
presidential polls, but admit in private that the government had
"fallen from grace sooner than what they had expected".
Founder of the City Montessori School Jagdish Gandhi, who is
believed to have close links with the chief minister, is however
full of praise for him.
"Rather than calling it the end of honeymoon, I think he has just
started," he says.
"He is accessible, he loves kids, is serious about education and
appears to be making sincere efforts to bring back the state to
normalcy," he said.
Industrialist Kiron Chopra, who has had few interactions with the
chief minister, agreed. "It is a little too early to come to
conclusions, I am sure he is making efforts to create an
industry-friendly and pro-investment environment in the state,"
the businessman said.
Politically, however, these efforts do not seem to be paying
dividends to the ruling party.
In the three months since the SP came to power, the party has lost
the by-election in Maant (Mathura) where the chief minister
personally canvassed for votes and the BJP made huge gains in the
recent municipal corporation and urban local body polls.
Although the mandarins in the party say that they had not
officially contested the polls, the fact that the SP had supported
many candidates across the state leaves them with little answers.
The bureaucracy too feels that while Akhilesh Yadav has "matured
fast", he remains raw in his three months of rule.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)