The Karma Yogi
YOGI ADITYANATH, WHOSE STATE HANDED THE BJP A HANDSOME VICTORY IN THE LOK SABHA ELECTION, UNSEATS MAMATA BANERJEE FROM THE TOP POSITION
Yogi Adityanath has dethroned Mamata Banerjee as the ‘best performing CM’
WHEN IT COMES TO ambition and performance, there’s no stopping Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adityanath, adjudged the ‘Best Performing Chief Minister’ in the country in the latest india today Mood of the Nation (MOTN) poll. Adityanath, who secured 20 per cent of the votes, was ranked second in the last MOTN poll (January 2019), where he shared the honours with Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal.
An early setback in his political career—the BJP’s defeat in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls
in March 2018, exactly a year after he became chief minister—had opened Adityanath’s eyes to, in his own words, his “overconfidence and inability to gauge the strength of the BSP-SP alliance”. Having won the Gorakhpur seat five times in a row in the past, he took the loss to heart.
Since then, the saffron-clad chief minister has been working like a monk on a mission. His first big achievement was the successful organisation of the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj (the renamed city of Allahabad) between January 14 and March 4, which was attended by an estimated 240 million people. Even some of his critics had praise for how the event was managed. This was followed by the BJP’s spectacular performance in UP in the Lok Sabha election despite the challenge posed by
the SP-BSP alliance. Of the 80 seats, the BJP won 62. Though the BJP’s nationwide victory is largely seen as a vote for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Adityanath’s meticulous campaign in UP played no mean part.
With Adityanath at the helm, UP has topped all states in creating affordable housing under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), pushing Andhra Pradesh to the second spot in 2018-19. The State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) facilitated the creation of 1.24 million homes under the Beneficiary Led Housing and 1.34 million under the Affordable Housing in Partnership schemes.
The Adityanath government has also organised two of the most successful investors’ summits in the country. At the UP Investors Summit held in February 2018, 1,045 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) worth Rs 4.68 lakh crore were signed with more than 1,000 private and public sector companies. By March this year, projects worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore had been inaugurated. The second investors’ summit was held in Lucknow last month and saw the launch of more than 250 projects worth Rs 65,000 crore.
That one of the two defence industrial corridors, announced in the Union Budget in 2018 will pass through Bundelkhand, UP’s poorest region, is expected to give a leg-up to development in UP and raise Adityanath’s stock. Adityanath believes the state has the potential to become a $1 trillion economy. What may help attain this goal are the central highway projects worth Rs 11,595 crore announced in western UP.
With 10 per cent votes, Bihar’s Nitish Kumar takes the second spot in the MOTN poll, surpassing Kejriwal, Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik and Devendra Fadnavis (Maharashtra), who rank a joint third. Nitish was the best CM before the August 2017 MOTN, when West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee assumed the mantle. Mamata, who topped the charts four times in a row, is now down to fifth position (6 per cent votes), after Jagan Mohan Reddy of Andhra Pradesh.
To Naveen’s credit, 75 per cent of the respondents from his state consider him the best CM. Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot commands 73 per cent support within his state. Both Adityanath and Nitish received 54 per cent support from within their respective states.