YOGI ADITYANATH, 45
The Hindutva warrior moved from fringe to mainstream, becoming the prime mover of saffronisation in Uttar Pradesh and is likely to emerge as an important campaigner in the BJP’s Mission 2019
He has given Lucknow a whole new routine. Since March 19, the day 45-year-old Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as Uttar Pradesh’s new chief minister, there’s been a unprecedented buzz around Pancham Tal, the state secretariat behind the Vidhan Bhavan. The CM’s office, located on the fifth floor of the building, now painted saffron, is the nerve centre that is driving India’s most populous state. ‘Yogi’, as he’s referred to, has set a timetable for his 47-member council of ministers, often summoning them for meetings that go on till the wee hours.
“All Uttar Pradesh ministers have been asked to stay in Lucknow and meet their representatives for the first two days of every week,” says cabinet minister Srikant Sharma. Tuesday is designated for cabinet meetings. Says Sharma, “The CM has already chaired more than 30 cabinet meetings since March 19,” which, he claims, is more than the number of times ministers met under the
Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party governments.
Yogi is also pushing to rid the administration of deadwood. Post a screening of all officials above the age of 50, Yogi ordered over a dozen provincial service officers to be compulsorily retired or terminated. More than 100 slackers in the secretariat have been demoted to send a strict message across state’s officialdom: ‘Perform or perish!’
Even as he’s cracking the whip to push his babus, Yogi has been quietly but firmly pursuing the BJP’s Hindutva agenda. The state’s inaugural budget, passed by the UP assembly in July, allocated over Rs 2,000 crore to develop Hindu religious centres such as Ayodhya, Mathura, Chitrakoot and Varanasi. He is also preparing to push the Centre’s development agenda to rid UP of its BIMARU tag. He has announced a series of infrastructure projects, from metro rails to expressways, and an airport at Jewar, in order to showcase the Centre’s development agenda in the state.