At the e.Adda last week, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath spoke on four years of his government, the second wave of Covid-19, and the use of the National Security Act (NSA) in the state.
On his roadmap for Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh is the largest state by the country’s population, hence, naturally, our challenges are big as well. We have been facing those daunting challenges with robustness and today, the results are in front of us. You all saw the kind of state we had inherited. About four-and-a-half years ago, what the country and the world thought about UP, I don’t think that’s hidden from any of you. But I’m certain those assumptions about UP have changed now. In 2016, it ranked 16th on the ‘ease of doing business’ list, today it’s at No. 2. The state’s economy was sixth in the country, today it’s second. We have prepared a roadmap and are following the Prime Minister’s vision and I am sure that will make us the No. 1 economy in the country.
On managing the second wave of Covid-19
We started with zero tests and now, we conduct about four lakh tests every day. People spread a lot of misinformation about the second wave. They said Covid-19 was out of control in UP. People were saying that the virus spread because of the panchayat elections but we, however, have clarified that the elections took place because the Allahabad High Court had decreed. There were stories about bodies floating in Ganga and Yamuna even when people who live along the rivers explained that burying bodies and/or immersing them is their custom. But no one was ready to talk about it. Many experts had declared that UP would have a disaster on its hands by the end of May. Today is June 23 and we detected only 208 new positive cases. It was predicted that by May-end and June, there will be more than three lakh daily new cases in UP. The state has only 3,666 active cases today.
On the lack of communication from the leadership during the second wave
The Prime Minister had spoken to the chief ministers on March 21, 2020, and ever since, every week through weekly video conferencing or over telephone. He has also addressed the general public. In spite of all this, if someone says there is an absence of dialogue, I feel it’s to hide their own shortcomings.
On whether Covid-19 deaths were underreported
Tell me one thing, did non-Covid deaths stop altogether? I think this issue of underreported numbers is wrong… There can be many reasons for deaths. To hide death figures is a sin in itself. But the question is, while we are struggling with the pandemic, what do we do? Do we reassure and encourage the public, or do we spread panic and fear among them?
On holding the Kumbh Mela
This was said for the elections, too. Someone said that the Election Commission should be hanged. I want to ask you, did Delhi and Maharashtra have elections? Was there Kumbh in these states? We need to educate ourselves more about the particular strain of the virus which was so virulent and infectious. We need to accept that truth. If we start playing with faith and targeting constitutional institutions, it will be injustice. This is a pandemic, one of the biggest of this century, and we need to fight this together. Our PM is leading us in this fight. We need to be responsible and participate in this collectively.
On labour reforms
The well-being of the industry is directly related to the well-being of labour. I don’t think there is a problem in labour reforms as long as we are protecting the rights of the labourers under the labour laws. We cannot benefit the labourers by shutting down industries. We need to protect them, simultaneously upgrading the industries.
On the use of the National Security Act against citizens
Local law enforcement bodies registered cases only against those who took the law into their hands. It’s because we took such decisions that UP has not had any riots in the recent past. Look at what kind of activities were taking place during the anti-CAA protests. Everyone has a right to legal recourse and each citizen is eligible to question the government regarding their security. But no one can take the law into their hands.
On filing sedition cases against journalists
That’s not what we want but if someone is deliberately spreading fake news, communal hatred and encouraging anarchy along the way, we wish to act and prevent a riot that would harm people and infrastructure. We wish to unmask those people. The safety of 24 crore citizens is a priority and we are committed to that.
On the constant invocation of ‘love jihad’
The Kerala High Court has also made statements regarding this in 2009, where it said that ‘love jihad’ is a way to make the state an Islamic state. The Karnataka High Court, too, made a judgment. We presented all the facts and evidence to the court on how certain conspiracies were under way. We analyse the data that comes to us regarding law and order on a daily basis, and look at things district-wise.
Have we forgotten the incident of Meerut, where an individual named Abdullah becomes Amit, ensnares a Hindu girl, marries her, takes all her property and kills her and her daughter? We saw about 100 such incidents across districts. We organised teams to investigate those funding such incidents. To avoid riots and a feeling of insecurity, we felt the need for a stringent law. We got the ordinance, and, later we made it into an Act. It’s applicable to everyone, not just one community. It will apply to whoever violates the law.
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