Chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh

Six months on, too many in the SP wield power without accountability

Last Saturday, on completing six months in office, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav patted himself on the back for taking several steps to honour the promises that the Samajwadi Party had made in its election manifesto.

The payment of unemployment allowance has begun, distribution of free laptops and tablets to school students will start soon, so will the Kanya Vidya Dhan scheme, under which each girl passing class XII will be given Rs 30,000. Meanwhile, farmers will get water for irrigation free of cost and more goodies are in the pipeline. "We take our manifesto seriously, unlike other parties, and we will fully implement it'', the CM declared.

However, doling out freebies is easy, more so if a government has no use for economics. The business of governance is demanding. In UP, it seems to have taken the backseat. While Akhilesh was congratulating himself in Lucknow, Ghaziabad in the NCR was reeling from a particularly vicious bout of rioting, sparked off by an alleged incident of sacrilege, which left six persons dead. Earlier, Bareilly had remained under curfew for a month. Rioting had taken place at Kosi Kalan in Mathura and Asthan in Pratapgarh district.

Akhilesh admitted that there was "something seriously wrong with the police" and promised action against officers who had allowed the situation to spin out of control in Ghaziabad. He could do a few more things.

For example, the CM could ask for a report on the districts where police chiefs have been changed twice or more and demand why. He could ask for another report on the incidents where SP men had gone berserk, bullied and beat up officials, and in some cases freed people whom the police had held for questioning or for involvement in criminal offences. He could ask for a third report on the events in Lucknow on August 17, which took place barely a few kilometres from the secretariat. The police had watched while a mob protesting against alleged atrocities on Muslims in Assam and Myanmar smashed vehicles, stoned shops, beat up passers-by and journalists, vandalised two parks and damaged statues of Buddha and Mahavir.

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