On Sunday, Yogi Adityanath became the 21st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Upon taking oath, Adityanath vowed to take India's most populous state on the path of development. And three days since that announcement, a lot has already changed in Uttar Pradesh, with the 44-year-old making ripples in the state's political structure.
The five-time Gorakhpur MP gave his farewell speech in Parliament on Tuesday. He said, "In UP, the new model of development will be based on sabka saath, sabka vikas. My government will be for everyone, not specifically for any caste or community. We will work for development of all sections and castes, and create a new structure of progress."
In the past three days, the mahant-turned-MP-turned-chief minister seems eager to come true on his promises. Some of the key issues he has sought to address include:
Anti-Romeo squads to prevent molestation
Staying true to the anti-Romeo squad, which was one of the key promises in BJP's election manifesto, Adityanath issued orders to constitute anti-Romeo squads in 11 districts of Lucknow zone to prevent molestation and harassment cases. "In a bid to check incidents of eve-teasing and passing of comments on them (women and girls), anti-Romeo squad would be constituted at the police station levels and action will be taken against them under the Goonda Act," IG (Lucknow Zone) A Satish Ganesh said.
The IG also directed the police to effectively check crime against women, offer rewards leading to to arrest of criminals, follow up on cases lodged under the Gangster Act, check activities of the land mafia, and curb the sale of illicit liquor.
The executive orders defining the exact role of the anti-Romeo squad will be decided by the Cabinet later. However, there are fears, especially among youth from minority communities, that the squad could be a guise for the administration to conduct moral policing in the state.
UP police's Anti-Romeo squads patrolling underway across the state. Visuals from Lucknow and Jhansi. pic.twitter.com/cJHAQD8zuQ
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 22, 2017
Ban on paan and gutka in government offices Taking forward the Swachh Bharat mission initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Adityanath on Wednesday issued a fresh advisory banning paan (tobacco), paan masala and gutka in government offices. According to a report in NDTV, the decision was made after the 44-year-old saw paan stains on staircases of the old chief ministerial offices. Use of plastic carry bags within government offices has also been banned. The full scope of this advisory hasn't been revealed, although it would be safe to assume that those found chewing or spitting tobacco in government buildings will receive the chief minister's scorn.
Illegal slaughter houses sealed
The IG has also issued an order saying attempts should be made to check cow slaughter and illegal cattle smuggling, and those involved should be booked.
Scroll reported that three meat shops owned by members of the Muslim community in Hathras were set ablaze by a mob late on Tuesday. A number of establishments operating without licences have been shut down or sealed by the government ever since Adityanath took charge four days ago.
According to a report in The Economic Times, Adityanath also ordered a blanket ban on the smuggling of cows in the state.
The Lucknow Municipal Corporation soon swung into action and sealed nine meat shops in the state capital. The BJP manifesto had stated that all illegal slaughter houses would be closed and there would be a blanket ban on all mechanised slaughter houses.
In fact, on Yogi Adityanath's official website, an opinion poll is seeking people's view over this issue. The poll poses the question, "Should there be a strict law to stop cow slaughter?" According to a report by The Indian Express, voters are required to provide their contact numbers and names while submitting their answers. According to one of the handlers of the website, 98 percent of respondents of the poll, which started around a month ago, said 'yes'.
Illegal slaughter houses and meat shops sealed by Police and Nagar Nigam in Lucknow, UP. pic.twitter.com/21CnPPb2A9
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 22, 2017
Construction of Ram temple
Speculation is rife over the Babri Masjid issue, which was also one of the poll issues which Adityanath fervently tried to cash in upon.
Writing for Hindustan Times, Sunita Aron argues, "The construction of the Ram temple will perhaps be the chief minister’s biggest challenge." This she argues is because in all his poll speeches Adityanath has promised: “Is there any force that can stop the construction of temple? When they could not stop demolition of Babri mosque, how can they stop this?”
However, despite his strong conviction that the Ram temple/Babri Masjid issue is a matter of faith which doesnt require assistance from the courts, he as chief minister has very little option but to look for an out-of-court settlement.
The BJP has tried to keep this issue on the back-burner, however Adityanath's inflammatory statements and the Supreme Court's recent note has brought the issue back to light.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Mar 22, 2017 18:52 PM