YOGI SPEAK

India Today - - INSIDE -

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

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