Three months after becoming Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath has much to say
Life in Uttar Pradesh under a Yogi Adityanath government might not have improved much, but 5, Kalidas Marg, the chief minister’s residence, has been transformed. Gone are the queues of SUVs and the bustling of leaders and selfconsciously ‘important’ men. Serene and entirely without hangers-on, the CM’s house seems almost modest. Visitors are welcomed with buttermilk and jaggery. Adityanath leaves early for his office and works long hours, so he brings no work home, no stray files or anxious babus.
Adityanath himself, unlike the public firebrand, is tranquil in person. He sits on a plain, saffron armchair. The most noticeable objects in the room are statues of Lord Hanuman and ‘gau mata’ and a set of thick rudraksha prayer beads. On June 26, his government will have been in power for 100 days. It’s an arbitrary point at which to assess progress, but Adityanath is taking it seriously, preparing to release a white paper on his government’s achievements and a roadmap for future progress.
Ask him for concrete examples of his government’s achievements, though, and Adityanath appears uncertain. He talks about loan waivers to farmers and dynasty-free politics, but the questions, particularly about law and order, are mounting. Speaking to Anshuman Tiwari, editor, india today Hindi, and Assistant Editor Ashish Misra, Adityanath mounts a robust defence of his record.
Q. Do you consider yourself a saint or a politician?
A. You don’t ask this question if you know the meaning of religion. Religion is a comprehensive concept. According to our learned people, our scholars, to pave the path for public welfare in worldly life and to provide spiritual uplift is part of religion. I think a yogi can do both things quite easily. And I manage to balance both worldly and spiritual concerns. Q. So how then would you assess the first 100 days of the BJP government in UP, as the chief minister and a yogi? A. I have been a yogi for the last 23 or 24 years. When, as UP chief minister, my government completes its first 100 days, I believe we will look back with satisfaction at having been successful in contributing to the dream of