Technically, Yogi Aditynath is Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for a very comfortable five year term with his over 3/4th majority in the Vidhan Sabha.
In reality, he only has a first term of 2 years in which to show himself as a vote winner for the do or die battle of 2019.
It is in these 2 years that he has to rescue Uttar Pradesh from being a BIMARU state, all the time keeping intact the Hindu votebank of 40% that was created in 2014 and nurtured for 3 full years by Modi and Shah. In fact, they will probably need to add 4-5% at a bare minimum to have a hope against the Mahagathbandhan of SP+BSP+Cong.
Both a blessing and a curse. After all, Hindutva + Development was always the real Modi plank. And the idea goes beyond Modi. I am sure most of the online right wing will agree with me here : when we say “Hindu Rashtra”, we think about a highly developed modern nation that takes great pride in its ancient heritage. The model for us is a country like Israel or Japan.
Today I thought we’d talk about something positive. So, I was thrilled when UP’s Deputy Chief Minister released the following document, detailing the status of road repairs since the BJP government came to power in March.
Some time ago, Yogi Adityanath had made a public promise : to make the roads of Uttar Pradesh free of potholes by a deadline of June 15. I remember this one very distinctly, in part because of this hilarious event that went along with it.
Apparently, some idiot reporter from ToI ended up translating “Gaddha mukt Uttar Pradesh” as “Donkey free Uttar Pradesh”. Clearly, the reporter did not understand basic Hindi : nothing wrong with that… except that an allegedly respectable media house sent such a person to cover Uttar Pradesh! And once ToI carried the story about a “donkey free Uttar Pradesh”, other media monkeys jumped to “report” the same…with some propaganda houses even using the fake news to take a dig at the BJP and cows! Monkey see, monkey do…
Anyways, coming back to the data released by the UP government today, we see that 1,21,034 km of potholed roads had been identified, of which 76,356 km has been made pothole free, which is 63% of the total. The best performer here is the PWD, which has successfully repaired some 70,000 km of the 85,000 km of potholed roads under its supervision, achieving 82% completion rate.
Now, 63% and even 82% is pretty far from 100%, but the government setting such a tough deadline and then sharing such data openly is a remarkable step towards accountable governance. We all knew that you can’t really remove all potholes in Uttar Pradesh in just 75 days. But such has been the standard of governance in our country that it comes as a pleasant surprise that the government would actually remember to release the data when the deadline comes around … and would actually finish 63% of the task.
We in India have grown up with such low expectations of our governments that we would normally project only 5% of the work to be completed; with a scam to boot.
If Yogi can whip the lethargic machinery of Uttar Pradesh into top gear within 2 years, the BJP may just be able to stave off the challenge in 2019. As on date, 2019 is about 63% won.