UP CM must send a message to party and state: there can be no slide back on law and order
With Akhilesh Yadav completing a month as Uttar Pradesh chief minister,there are reasons why a careful look back is in order. More than any other chief minister of the state in recent memory,Akhilesh has the opportunity to start with a clean slate. As a relatively new and young entrant in the states politics,he can afford to sidestep or simply ignore some of its more congealed parts. He can carve out room for political manoeuvre that is less cramped by the legacy of previous regimes,including those presided over by his father,Mulayam Singh Yadav. And all the while,he is backed by an absolute majority,the outcome of an encompassing mandate that draws upon support from all caste and religious groups,including the Dalits. The onus of new beginnings,therefore,is especially on Akhilesh. But as a report in this paper has pointed out,UPs new CM may need to tighten the reins on the crucial law and order front on which the SP is on the backfoot.
In a letter to his ministers,UPs CM has urged them to take steps to guard the governments image against those who would cause a negative impact,and emphasised the need to maintain discipline among workers. Yet,one month on,the SP government is yet to act against SP cadres and leaders accused of perpetrating violence in the heady aftermath of their partys return to power. The police are still to arrest the accused in two of the three worst incidents,in which four persons lost their lives,while an SP minister named in the third is now a minister. This failure or tardiness by UPs ruling party to act against its own has the potential to dim the shine of its pledges to restore the rule of law in a state notorious for giving the powerful the right of way.
The Akhilesh government must act swiftly on the law and order front because only once the state fulfils this most basic promise to the voter,can it move on to a more ambitious agenda of governance. Today,in a happy development,states ruled by different parties compete with each other to be first in initiating governance innovations and welfare schemes. India is waiting for UP to join that race.