Lucknow, Sep 15 (IANS) Six months back when Akhilesh Yadav took over the reins of Uttar Pradesh, there was hope across India’s most populous state. The son was seen as a better choice even over his experienced father.
It was for this very reason that the UP electorate stunned everyone by giving a 224-seat majority to the Samajwadi Party (SP), the best electoral showing since 1952, rejecting Mayawati and Rahul Gandhi also.
As Akhilesh completes six months in office, his government’s report card reads like a mixed bag, with failures outweighing achievements.
While he has been able to score some personal points on the burgeoning bureaucracy, his failures on communal harmony, crime, law and order as well as power situation has dented hit his ‘Mr Good’ image.
The toast of the urban middle class till not long ago, the 39-year-old is now seen as someone who has the intent but not enough maturity to take it through.
“He is a very well meaning person but he trails off very fast, he is very cautious before deciding on simple issues and his attention span on major issues is pathetic,” said a senior bureaucrat close to the man.
A senior SP leader agrees. He says that their hopes, nurtured by the relentless work done by “Akhilesh Bhaiyya” in the run up to the polls, was not paying dividends.
“He has become completely out of reach of well wishers, party workers, cadres and local leaders,” he said.
Avadhesh Yadav, a landless labourer from his one-time parliamentary constituency Kannauj, rues that there has not been much change since BSP chief minister Mayawati lost power.
A political observer is equally critical of his six-month tenure.
“The chief minister has failed to get over the vicious circle of uncles,” a reference to senior ministers like Shivpal Yadav and Mohd Azam Khan who mostly seem to act on their own.
The paradigm shift that Akhilesh Yadav wanted from the party’s goonda (criminal) image has also suffered a blow.
There have been several incidents of SP workers beating up police, abusing officials, vandalizing public property and extorting money from all and sundry.
A diktat issued soon after the government was sworn in not to use party flags on cars has been done away with. Workers across the state are misusing the party flag with impunity and disregard for party discipline.
On more than three occasions, party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had to do some talking to set the party in order. Recently he sacked a close Akhilesh aide, Sanjay Lathar, on “serious charges”.
Mulayam Yadav knows that a mess up in Uttar Pradesh could hurt his 2014 prime ministerial ambitions. He has openly chided his son for “not keeping track of people’s aspirations”.
Opposition leader and BSP’s Swamy Prasad Maurya called the government a failure on all fronts.
“This is the biggest blot on the state, lawlessness is prevalent all-around, mafias and goons are running the government,” he says.
Laxmikant Bajpayi, state president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), too is critical of Akhilesh’s six month tenure.
Dwijendra Tripathi of the Congress is vocal: “The hope Akhilesh had generated has fizzled out too soon.”
The SP, however, says that the government has achieved many milestones in a short time span.
“Several schemes have been undertaken and very soon they will bear fruits for the common man,” a party spokesman said.
Some of these include a proposed unemployment allowance, ‘Janata Darshan’ with the chief minister and start of a Samajwadi Swasthya Yojna.
But the failures are evident: seven communal riots in a short span, spiralling crime, foot-in-mouth ministers, many power centres, overzealous cadre and corruption.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at email@example.com)