Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath lashed out at the previous Samajwadi Party-led government in the state, saying that the zero-tolerance policy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government ensured that criminals fled from the state. He also took a jibe at those who quit the party ahead of the assembly elections, calling them “unsatisfied souls” whose demands can never be fulfilled.
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In an exclusive interview to Shashi Shekhar, Editor-in-chief of Hindustan Times’ Hindi-language sister publication Hindustan, he said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government changed the perception of the state.
Adityanath also rubbished the criticism of his government, and listed the steps taken by the present dispensation for the betterment of the people.
“Before 2017, the traders and people of some pockets of Uttar Pradesh, like Kairana, had to migrate to other places. But after 2017, criminals are leaving the state and not the people. This is the basic difference,” he said in the interview.
“The properties of the mafia are razed by bulldozers today, and there is a safer environment for the women of the state,” Adityanath added.
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When asked about the allegations of selectively targeting the criminals, the chief minister said, “For our government, a criminal is a criminal. We have never targeted anyone selectively, based on caste or religion. We have never shied away from taking action against corrupt people. It is our government that freed more than 100 acres of land from a mafia in Prayagraj to build a housing scheme for the poor.”
Adityanath further said that the BJP government changed the perception of the state in the eyes of the country. “There was a perception that there is mafia raj in Uttar Pradesh, no development or security in the state and that no development programme can move ahead in the state, we changed that perception.”
“Now, in terms of infrastructure development, women security, farmer aid, good governance and ensuring benefit to every person, Uttar Pradesh is among the leading states in the country,” he said.
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As the conversation moved towards providing employment to Uttar Pradesh’s youth, the chief minister said that the state’s unemployment rate was 18 per cent when SP was in power and has now come down to 4.9 per cent.
“We gave government job to 5 lakh young people, 1.61 crore youth got private jobs and assistance in jobs,” said Adityanath.
“UP is in a better position in terms of employment compared to Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal, though I agree that a lot still needs to be done,” he added.
Adityanath was asked about not contesting the upcoming state election from Ayodhya, to which he replied that it was a decision taken by the party. “For me, Ayodhya is a centre of faith and not politics. I had left it to the party to decide where I should be fielded from,” he said.
Elections to the 403 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases starting February 10. The polling in Uttar Pradesh will be held on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27, and March 3 and 7 in seven phases. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.