Lucknow, May 29 :
Akhilesh Yadav is angry, and how! The Samajwadi Party was routed in the Lok Sabha polls and now the Uttar Pradesh chief minister has dissolved the state executive of the party, disbanded all subsidiary affilate organizations and has turned his ire on the bureaucracy.
In the fortnight after the drubbing where the number of Samajwadi Party (SP) MPs tumbled to five from 22, 40-year-old Yadav has so far transferred more than a dozen IPS officials, suspended two – SP Lakhimpur Kehri Satyendra Kumar Singh and SP Firozabad Rakesh Singh – and many more are in the pipeline, say aides.
Sources say the chief minister has got a never-before dressing down from his father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for the abysmal performance of the party at the hustings and the action is a fallout of that.
“Akhilesh bhaiyya has so far been captive of his image of a nice man who is not strict, it now needs to be changed,” an aide told IANS.
The chief minister has been holding long parleys ever since, specially on development indices like power, infrastructure and law and order.
Realizing that the poor track record of his two-year-old government has contributed heavily in the poor show at the polls, the chief minister is now working overtime to deliver.
A series of meetings have already been held on the power sector and officials have been told to meet timelines.
Under attack from opposition parties, specially a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on the grim power scenario – outages in rural areas vary from 12-16 hours and in cities 6-8 hours per day – the chief minister’s office is monitoring the power scenario on a 24×7 basis, an official said.
Yadav has already ordered cancellation of work orders to five firms over tardy progress in making sub-stations and laying transmission lines and the firms have also been blacklisted for two years.
A few officials in Ghaziabad and Bareilly have been given suspended on charges of graft. The chief minister has called a meeting of senior police officials, home department officials and district police chiefs June 10 to take stock of the law and order situation in the state.
In an internal assessment of the party after the poll rout, it has been inferred that poor law and order and soaring crime graphs had also made the SP government extremely unpopular among the masses.
In a government order (GO) issued late Wednesday, the state government has fixed responsibilities of divisional commissioners, zonal IG’s, range DIG’s, district police chiefs in case of law and order disturbances.
The state has been singed by over 100 small and big incidents of communal clashes in the past two years of the SP regime.
The biggest being the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar where 63 people were killed and thousands rendered homeless.
Yadav faced flak on the handling of the situation before and after the riot and he is now learnt to have decided to overhaul the police force and pack it with officials who can deliver.
So far, the bureaucracy and the police force has been in the “unofficial control” of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his confidantes, leaving little leverage to the young chief minister.
Insiders say Akhilesh has asked for “complete autonomy” in governance.
But, political observers say, the whip cracking might be too late and too little.
A senior party leader blamed the ‘baap-beta’ (father-son) mismatch for the political doldrums the party finds itself in and pointed out that the SP had already lost the plot to the BJP which beat the daylights out of the ruling party by winning 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats.
A party which won a landslide of 223 seats in a 403-member house just two years back is now leading in just 42 assembly segments is an indicator enough of things to come, rues a party functionary.
“The chief minister could never cultivate an image of an able administrator and now he has even lost the sole saving grace of being a vote catcher,” says a senior minister who admits that UP now “was waking up to development and shunning caste and community calculations”.
Free laptops, unemployment doles will no longer work. People want work, says BJP state unit chief Laxmikant Bajpayi who claims that his party was on way to resurrection after Narendra Modi’s ascendancy as prime minister.
“People are aspiring to see the Gujarat model replicated in UP as well and now want only BJP in the state,” he adds.
The real test for the Yadav’s and the government now is to win maximum seats in the 12 assembly seats where bypolls would be held very soon.