Uttar Pradesh had become a communal tinderbox during Akhilesh's time, where even a small spark could trigger a full-fledged riot. Recruitments during the Samajwadi party were marred by scams, favouritism and corruption to appease its vote base.
Uttar Pradesh, the cradle of Indian political diaspora, an epitome of brilliance in every field, witnessed the Blue Blood Dynast politics before 2017. The Maafiaraj was in full pace with the help of previous governments. Being a Parliamentarian from Gorakhpur for almost two decades, Yogi Adityanath knew that Gundaraj and Dangaraj have unfortunately become two identities of Uttar Pradesh. Yogi obtained a defunct Uttar Pradesh, being run by Akhilesh Yadav, his father Mulayam and Mayawati in the last 17 years. The likes of Mukhtar Ansari, Atique Ahmed, Vikas Dubey, Gayatri Prajapati were in corridors of power instead of jails.
When Yogi came to power in 2017, he asked the home department to list the criminals, mafias and gangsters in each district of UP who enjoyed political protection in previous regimes. Yogi Adityanath gave a free hand to his police to deal with criminals and ameliorate the law-and-order situation in the state. Due to this overture of Yogi, the lawless land became a law-abiding state. The Yogi government passed the stringent Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crimes (UPCOC) Bill to curb organised crime and terror in the state.
The state, earlier, was in poor condition due to Akhilesh Yadav appeasement politics. Let us understand this by an incident. In July of 2021, the UP ATS arrested two terrorists with suspected links to Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, an offshoot of Al Qaeda. The two men were identified as Maseeruddin and Minhaz Ahmed. According to the police investigation, the terrorists planned to unleash terror activities on Independence Day in different cities. Here the politics of Akhilesh started, as usual, a political syndrome that he had learnt from his father, Mulayam Singh. Yadav could not resist scoring political points. To signal his minority voters, Akhilesh Yadav said he does not believe in the UP Police and its operation. This is not the first time Akhilesh Yadav played up to his minority voters at the cost of the security of the people of Uttar Pradesh.
In its 2012 election manifesto, along with the anti-constitutional religion-based reservation for Muslims, Samajwadi Party promised that Muslim youth jailed on charges of terrorist acts would be released and given adequate compensation. Akhilesh Yadav remembered all the promises made to his Muslim voters when he became the Chief Minister of the state, though he forgot most of his other poll promises.
He tried to release some of the most dreaded terrorists from the jails of UP. Fortunately, the courts came down heavily on the Akhilesh Yadav government.
See the interesting fact here is one of the terror accused Tariq Kazmi, whom the Akhilesh government wanted to release, later got a life sentence for his role in the serial bomb blasts, first in 2015 from Barabanki court, and later in a similar case in 2020 from Gorakhpur court. Akhilesh has surely learnt the idea of supporting terrorists to appease Muslims from his father. Mulayam Singh Yadav, along with Lalu Prasad Yadav, supported the banned terror outfit Student's Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in 2008.
The Danga Pradesh label before 2017
Before Yogi Adityanath took oath as the Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh almost became synonymous with Danga-Pradesh. It peaked at its worst height during Akhilesh Yadav's time. Within the first few months of Akhilesh Yadav becoming the Chief Minister, large scale communal violence took place in Mathura, Pratapgarh, Bareilly, Meerut, Prayagraj and Lucknow. Uttar Pradesh had become a communal tinderbox during Akhilesh's time, where even a small spark could trigger a full-fledged riot.
In 2013 the state witnessed the worst riot, the Muzaffarnagar riots and its mishandling by Akhilesh shook the country. Even Jairam Ramesh, Minister in the then UPA Government, which otherwise ideologically aligns with Samajwadi Party, also had to say that he was absolutely shocked, disappointed at his (Akhilesh's) masterly inactivity in Muzaffarnagar riots.
On Azam Khan's instruction, Akhilesh did not allow the district police to arrest the culprits from the Muslim community, which led to further resentment among people on the ground. He did not visit Muzaffarnagar when all this was happening. The temptation of their minority vote bank stopped previous regimes in UP to legislate against the Muslim community.
After a couple of months, when the riot victims were still suffering in relief camps, Akhilesh Yadav was hosting a Bollywood festival in Saifai, his home town. The case went to Supreme Court, and SC held the Akhilesh govt guilty of negligence and ordered the arrest of all Muzaffarnagar accused.
Before Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh was governed by the norm set by Mulayam Singh Yadav. "Ladko sey galti to jati hai. Kya rape case mein phansi di jayegi", Mulayam Singh Yadav said this in response to a very sensitive rape case during the Samajwadi government's time. Akhilesh Yadav also trivialised the atrocities against women when he was the chief minister of UP.
Once during his CM tenure, he was in Kanpur, and a local female journalist asked him about the alarming rape cases in the state. She asked Akhilesh Yadava about the four gruesome rape cases in the state in the last two days. Akhilesh Yadav mocked the female journalist saying, "Aapko toh khatra nahin hua na." Such an insensitive counter-question by as Chief Minister left the female journalist stunned.
In the past five years, Yogi did very well to ensure women's safety by installing an anti-Romeo squad in every district. Earlier governments discouraged women from coming to police stations, but that scenario has now changed. The state has witnessed a reduction in crimes regarding women now as per the NCRB data 2020.
Caste and bureaucracy
Recruitments during the Samajwadi party saw the worst phase. The recruitments were marred by scams, favouritism and corruption to appease its vote base. The SP leadership followed patronage politics and rewarded Yadav clansmen with key posts in state bureaucracy at each level. Under the influence of the ruling Yadav family, 70% of the police station were headed by Yadav officers. Most district police chiefs read the trend and likings of chief minister Akhilesh and started posting Yadav officers in key positions to earn brownie points from the ruling Yadav family. It became an unwritten rule that 70% of inspectors and SHOs had to be Yadav's in every district. Such was the situation that the High court bench of Allahabad asked the government 'why it is so that whenever your government comes into power, a specific caste is empowered at all levels.' Yogi ended this caste system. Now the recruitments are free and fair, which the Judiciary has appreciated.
Yogi government has done a splendid job in these five years. Anti-Mafia Task Force was established as well as a surgical strike against conversion rackets in the state was also done. Yogi handled propaganda toolkits with a strong hand also.
(The writer is the chief editor of Saksham magazine (RSS), member of state executive council Saksham, Delhi state and Indraprastha addhyan Kendra (RSS) holding the responsibility of Sahitya samuh sah -pramukh).