India Ahead held an exclusive interaction with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath yesterday in Lucknow at the CM’s residence. Into the final stretch of his first term as chief minister, Yogi, once a yodha on the political landscape has evolved into a karma yogi.
The firebrand politician lingers and his following is devout and loyal, however, with the years in office, the CM is resolutely focussed on the state and its development, drowning out the surround sound that has followed him in public life.
Often projected as a unidimensional figure, CM Yogi Adityanath a graduate in mathematics from Garhwal University is at ease with numbers and has a crystal clear vision for the state of Uttar Pradesh and its development, like a CEO in saffron robes he rattles off figures and in his tenure, UP has taken to the number two position in states in terms of its economy.
He vows to bring it to the number one position in the next five years. A glimpse of the man who is bringing in big-ticket investments was in evidence during his interaction with Kitex CEO, Subbu Jacob during the India Ahead interview.
He not only promised ease of doing business but also peace of mind for entrepreneurs. Subbu has been hounded by the communist government in Kerala and has withdrawn from his home state in despair, saying he has been “thrown out”.
The light touch, so not associated with Yogi’s persona, sits well on him and his straightforward speak conveys a sincerity, not a hard sell, which had the second-largest kids garments manufacturer in the world, almost sigh audibly.
This “new” Yogi is a revelation, his ease with questions and the office he holds, shows an aspect of his persona that has so far not been on display.
Uttar Pradesh, if it were a country would be the sixth largest country in the world, and is a daunting challenge for any CM, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.
When the state like the rest of the world reeled under Covid, Yogi was seen walking into Covid wards and rushing to villages across the state when the pandemic was at its peak, and his opponents were tweeting.
This experience has brought him closer to his constituents, a leader who walked in their midst, as an unprecedented and hard to control crisis unfolded new calamitous surprises every day.
Yogi recalls what a Covid infected couple said to him in a village he visited on one of his frenetic outreaches, unmindful of his own health and safety. The couple when they found him standing outside their door said,” We appreciate your visit, but what would UP do if we lost you?” I think that is the question a lot of UP voters will be contemplating in the coming months.