I remember an incident that goes 10 years back into my memory. I was returning to Varanasi from a nearby village in the Chanduali district. I was driving my bike on one side of the road keeping my speed around 50 Kmph. Suddenly, I found some voices shouting at me. When I looked back, I saw cavalcade of a local politician (possibly an ‘elected’ MLA) coming through. It had many SUVs and many more bikes. There wasn’t any road discipline. The vehicles of the fleet had covered almost of the width of the road and other vehicles coming from the opposite side had to leave the road to give pass to the cavalcade.
Though, I was not trying to be a hero but I felt it was wrong and I kept on driving on my line. I was already on the side of the road and there was enough of the space available for the cavalcade to pass and I thought they would adjust seeing that I was already on driving the side.
But I was wrong. Even if driving on one side, I was still on the road. I increasingly felt that some vehicle of the fleet would crush me if I didn’t take my bike off the road. Then, I suddenly felt a gush of dust and honking and don’t know how but my bike slid away from the road to the dusty patch of the open field.
The cavalcade that was driving at 70-80 Kmph on a narrow and poorly laid road of the rural Uttar Pradesh zoomed past me leaving me in a state of inertia of shock. The cavalcade, as long as it was in my sight, did the same thing with every other vehicle on the road.
This incident is a direct reading into the mind of the characters of many politicians who inhabit the power corridors of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP). Badlands of UP are now a statewide phenomenon with increasing number of tainted and criminal elements making their way into active politics and legislature.
The state has seen a sharp decline on this front in the last two decades. With dominance of issueless politics, the rowdy elements have registered increasing presence at the political forefront to exploit equations based on community and caste considerations.
Politicians like Raja Bhaiya are its living example. And he is not alone. There are many like Mukhtar Ansari, Amarmani Tripathi, Vinod Singh, Vijay Mishra, Abhay Singh and the list is long.
A feeling of dire hopelessness has crept in the state and it seems development and progressive politics are not going to happen any time soon.
It was this hopelessness that gave Akhilesh Yadav a landslide victory in the 2012 assembly election. He had to play it different.
Like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Samajwadi Party (SP), too, has had a history of negative politics in the state promoting elements of goondaism and corruption.
But being a young face, a hopeless electorate saw some hope in Akhilesh that he would take a different stride away from the SP-brand of politics and will put the state back on the path of law and order and development.
Akhilesh Yadav is completing one year in the office on March 15, 2013 and that ‘some hope’ is totally shattered.
It’s not just about murder of a righteous cop in Kunda, where an already tainted state minister with dozens of criminal cases against him had to resign after allegations of conspiring to kill the Circle Officer of the state police force, the state has seen a flood of criminal incidents since Akhilesh took over in March 2012.
According to the media reports sighting the official state records, the state saw 2437 murders, more than 1700 cases of sexual assault and over 450 robberies during the first six months of Akhilesh’s tenure. Another report in January said the state registered 1723 rape case in 10 months since Akhilesh took over. Since March 2012, the state has seen 13 communal riots.
It is not if the crime rate was more or less during Mayawati’s tenure. The state saw an atmosphere of overall decline during her term as the chief minister. Criminals and ‘criminal-turn-politicians’ ran amok. Corruption did every thing to be in league with the sky-high corruption of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. Law and order took a nosedive. Development became restricted to Mayawati-themed statues and parks.
But Akhilesh was given the charge to undo that and so any comparison with the record of the previous government can never be a plausible reasoning.
One year might not be enough to analyze the state’s development under Akhilesh Yadav but the chief minister has not been even indicative of working intently to bring the state back on the path of development and issue-based politics.
Instead, the badlands are getting more frightening. Criminals and ‘criminal-turn-politicians’ are still running amok. No one is talking of development. The politics of appeasement and political corruption continue to have their run unabated.
Yes, no one had expected miracle in March 2012, but at least, there was some hope that the process of reconciliation with a progressive brand of politics would be given some serious consideration with a younger energy at the helms of the affairs. That hope has taken a serious beating.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/