The Samajwadi Party has completed half its term in Uttar Pradesh, the biggest State of the country. From the work that can be seen on Government records, for at least 2 years after the Samajwadi Party came to power in Uttar Pradesh, most of the Ministers in the Akhilesh Government just enjoyed the perks and privileges of power and did no work at all. Only some Ministers were there, who immediately after coming to power or after taking charge as a Minister got actively involved in doing work, but most of the Ministers in the years 2012 and 2013 just rested leisurely. It was only when Akhilesh Yadav established his full grip and control over the Government that his Ministers started working. But even though many Government departments became active in 2014, the ‘activeness’ of some departments still remained a formality.
In the three day National Convention of the Samajwadi Party (SP) held this October in Lucknow, discussions rotated primarily around the working style, corruption and the anti-people attitude of Ministers in the Akhilesh Yadav Government in Uttar Pradesh. Discussions remained focused on this because the SP National President, Mulayam Singh Yadav, had expressed his concern over it. In fact, this is a topic on which Mulayam Singh has been speaking regularly and continues to do so even now. Even though attempts were made to dilute Mulayam’s concern by bringing up the issue of traitorous SP members, Mulayam Singh’s words struck like an arrow in people’s hearts, no matter how many attempts at sidetracking there were.
It has become clear now that it will be on the basis of the performance of Ministers of the Akhilesh Government that the 2017 assembly elections will be fought. At the Convention itself senior SP leader Naresh Agarwal had said that except Akhilesh Yadav, Ministers don’t have anything of their own to enumerate. It is correct too that from the viewpoint of work, leaving aside some exceptional senior leaders, other than talking about the work of Akhilesh, there is nothing else or more to be said.
After so much talk centred on the work done or not done by Ministers and their anti-people activities, and Mulayam Singh Yadav complaining from the stage itself about no action being taken against them, Akhilesh took away the red light beacon of around 7 dozen such Ministers who were only ‘Ministers in status’. The corruption of those who had nothing except a red light beacon was also like their status. Whereas in the ambit of Mulayam’s complaint, it was not ‘status Ministers’, but those Ministers were there who were included in the list of Cabinet or State Ministers. It was those Ministers, in whose hands were their departments and the right of power, who were (and are) using their position completely for their personal interest.
Because of the complaints Mulayam made on the stage, the SP National Convention opened the door to taking stock of the performance of the Ministers of the Akhilesh Government against the allegations and complaints of corruption too, so that a clear division could be made between active-passive Ministers. Between the active and passive Ministers we can create one more category of Ministers who are ‘average’, so that it remains as an in between dividing line. To determine the activeness and passiveness of Ministers, department wise details of the work were listed and a ground level comparison of those details was made with their image. The documented record of the work of many Ministers was found to be totally negligible. Apparently, at the ground level many Ministers in the Akhilesh Government carried on work through mere talk and bravado, but in practical terms their work remained poor. Clearly, the interest of such Ministers remained only in corruption and anti-people activities, just as the SP National President Mulayam Singh Yadav had been saying continuously and is still saying.
UTTAR PRADESH LOWEST AMONG BIMARU STATES IN 9 YEARS GROWTH: ASSOCHAM
It is as a result of the ‘interest’ of Ministers of the Uttar Pradesh Government in development work and their priorities that Uttar Pradesh lags behind in important indicators. Clocking the slowest compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 6.9 per cent in terms of gross State domestic product, Uttar Pradesh is the lowest among the traditional BIMARU States (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP) in this regard during the past nine years i.e. during 2004-05 and 2012-13, according to an ASSOCHAM study.
“Though UP’s share in terms of contribution to Indian economy has remained highest during the aforesaid period, its share has dipped from 8.8 per cent as of 2004-05 to 8.1 per cent as of 2012-13.” Even on the agriculture and allied sector front, UP has proved to be the slowest in CAGR at 2.9 per cent, well below the national growth rate of 3.7 per cent, it said. Madhya Pradesh clocked the highest growth rate of seven per cent in terms of agriculture and allied sector performance amid BIMARU States followed by Rajasthan (4.8 per cent) and Bihar (4.7 per cent).
From the work that can be seen on Government records, for at least 2 years after the Samajwadi Party came to power, most of the Ministers of the Akhilesh Government just enjoyed the perks and privileges of power. Only some such Ministers were there, who immediately after coming to power or after taking charge as a Minister got actively involved in doing work, but most of the Ministers in the years 2012 and 2013 just rested leisurely. It was only when Akhilesh Yadav established his full grip and control over the Government that his Ministers started working. If we see the Government records of the work done by Ministers, then from its analysis many interesting facets come to light. Ministers who were not anywhere statements-wise, who kept themselves away from controversies, who kept themselves very low profile, they were found to be active in their work. Their work can be seen with documented proof. Allegations and complaints of course go with Ministers, some of the complaints are even correct, but work too keeps going on. Amongst such Ministers the names of Social Welfare Minister Awadhesh Prasad, Panchayati Raj Minister Kailash, Labour Minister Shahid Manzoor, Secondary Education Minister Mahboob Ali, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Rural Development Arvind Singh Gope are especially notable.
If you see Ministers like Raja Bhaiya, who have been pulled into all kinds of controversies, then their work compares with that of any active Minister. The names of senior Ministers like Shivpal Yadav, Azam Khan and Ahmed Hasan can be taken in the list of active Ministers. These Ministers remain in the headlines and at the center of discussions but their departmental work keeps getting carried out apace.
There are such Ministers too who walk along amidst allegations and complaints, don’t do work at all and remain involved in other activities. Amongst the average active Ministers, Transport Minister Durga Prasad Yadav, Political Pension Minister Rajendra Chaudhary, Jail Minister Balram Yadav, Primary Education Minister Ram Govind Chaudhary, Minor Irrigation Minister (Independent Charge) Bhagwat Saran Gangwar and Science and Technology Minister Manoj Pandey’s names can be taken. The Ministers whose names are not there in the list of active and average active Ministers, you can very well understand what their category is. What needs to be underlined is that amongst the active and average active Ministers too many are there whose department ‘rested’ for about 2 years and in 2014 suddenly became active. In 2012 and 2013, apart from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the only Cabinet Ministers who were active can be counted on one’s fingers. The overall situation and the development work that is being carried out in Uttar Pradesh can be easily understood when in a team of 25 Cabinet Ministers in the Akhilesh Government, only 8 or 9 Ministers are active. Out of the 5 Ministers with Independent Charge, the name of only one — Arvind Singh Gope – can be included in ‘active’ Ministers. Out of 25 State Ministers linked with Ministers — a calculation of their activeness can be done on the basis of the performance of their bosses.
After coming to power In March 2012 the departments that went into ‘rest mode’ for two years were, Minorities Welfare, Medicine and Health, Public Safety, Backward Classes and Disabled Welfare, Hail, Tourism, Transportation, Home Guards, Textiles and Sericulture, Khadi and Village Industries, Dairy Development, Technical Education, Rural Engineering (Independent Charge), and Mining etc.
WHY CCTV CAMERAS MAKE MINISTERS NERVOUS
When the Akhilesh Government took a decision to install CCTV camera at the residence of Ministers, there was trepidation amongst the Ministers. Many Ministers expressed their displeasure publicly. Ministers called it interference in private life. The Chief Minister was determined to put up the cameras, but in the end the enthusiasm faded. It is notable that ever since the Samajwadi Party Government has been formed in Uttar Pradesh, all kinds of complaints regarding MLA’s and Ministers have been reaching the Government and the party.
Many of these departments became active in 2014, but the ‘activeness’ of some departments still remained a formality. In 2012 and 2013, the work of many departments remained declaratory, with no relation at all with functionality. The departments that became active in their work soon after the formation of the Samajwadi Party’s Government were primarily the PWD, Urban Development, Social Welfare , Minor Irrigation, Political Pension, Panchayati Raj, Science and Technology, Primary Education and Labour. Amongst the departments that became active after ‘resting’ for 1 to 1 and a half years after the formation of the Government, Horticulture, Dairy Development, Food and Logistics, Fisheries and Women Welfare etc, are notable. From the time of Government formation till today the departments which proved to be negligible in work are Social Welfare, Civil Defense, Backward Classes Welfare, Tourism, Khadi and Village Industries, Mining and Technical Education etc. The names of departments which are not there anywhere in the list, what their work is worth, you yourself can calculate and make an estimate of it.
Out of the departments with negligible work too, some departments remained at the center of complaints-allegations due to the activities of Ministers associated with them. Amongst them the Mining department stands first. The Cabinet Minister of Mining and close aide of Akhilesh Yadav, Gayatri Prasad Prajapati has become ‘famous’ because to his activities. His son Anil Prajapati too is walking in his footsteps and ‘earning’ a name.
The name of the Cabinet Minister’s son came up in the matter of grabbing Government land of the tehsil (sub division) in Amethi district. There are allegations against the Minister’s son of falsifying papers of the sale-deed, along with stamp theft, and construction by forcibly grabbing unused land of the tehsil. This matter is so serious that the Local Advocates Association has also expressed official resentment, but the Government didn’t pay any attention.
This was not the first allegation against the Minister’s son of grabbing land. Before this, a victim — a widow of Amethi – had with her family sat on strike in Lucknow against acquisition of her land by Cabinet Minister Gayatri Prajapati. In the town area near Amethi tehsil, the son of Cabinet Minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, Anil Prajapati, bought land from Pradeep Srivastava in the name of an NGO — the Life Cure Medical and ResearchCenter. The director of this NGO is Anil Prajapati himself. By grabbing the vacant land of Amethi tehsil next to the land that had been grabbed, Anil Prajapati even started the construction work. Advocates of the tehsil complained about this to the Deputy Collector of Amethi, R D Ram, but because the matter was related to a Cabinet Minister’s son no action was taken. Advocates struck work in protest against this and reached Sultanpur district court. The Court gave orders to immediately stop construction work on that plot.
DEVELOPMENT SACRIFICED AT ALTAR OF FUN AND FESTIVITIES
Newspapers have already covered instances of UP Ministers neglecting all work and indulging in wasteful spending on fun and festivities and foreign tours. In the name of a study tour, Ministers visiting foreign countries had taken rooms in a 7 star hotel of Amsterdam at a cost of 3 lakh rupees per night. No less than 17 Ministers and MLAs of the Akhilesh Government had gone abroad in the name of an international study tour. The plan was to travel over 20 days plan in Britain, UAE, Netherland, Greece and Turkey on a study tour. Under the leadership of senior Minister of the Akhilesh Government — Azam Khan, this representative group included Raja Bhaiya, Ambika Chaudhary, Shivkant Ojha, Shiv Kumar Beria and other Ministers and MLAs. In any case, by spending crores of rupees on the grand Saifai Festival, the Akhilesh Government has ‘earned a name’ in the whole country.
The financial power of Mining Minister of State Gayatri Prasad Prajapati increased so much that his opulence and domination, both are being seen on the streets. In Amethi the Minister bought a cinema hall. After buying Vimal cinema hall, all the buildings and land surrounding the premises of the cinema hall started irking him. The Minister forcibly grabbed land next to the Vimal cinema hall belonging to widow Shiv Devi Gupta. The administration systematically demolished 4 walls of the land with a bulldozer. At the time of demolition of the wall the supposed PRO of the Minister was also present there. Information of this was given to the Collector and Deputy-collector (Sadar). The Collector gave the SO orders to remove the forcible land grab, but the administration failed to remove the forcible land grab by the Minister. Against a Minister who kept the law in his hands, the entire district administration proved to be helpless and ineffective.
On the other side, the activities of the Mining department are still the most talked about in the State. Experts say that the maximum money comes from mining, and the line of those becoming rich through it is long.
Illegal mining is prevalent in the whole of Uttar Pradesh. In maurang (sand) mining, lease is somewhere else, the royalty of somewhere else is going on. On the forest land of the State too, illegal mining is going on recklessly. From each single barrier at least 40 lakh rupees are taken. The Minister-bureaucrats-mafia is the face of the triangular syndicate which is carrying on this business. In areas like Jalaun and Urai, famous by the name of red gold, maurang mines illegal business is being run by the syndicate. Maurang form MM-11 of one mine are operating well in other illegal mines too. Then too officers of the Mining department don’t do checking of this. It is clear that in return they are getting a big amount of money for this every month.
In the black business of illegal mining, the maurang mines are being mined illegally without any fear by the people connected to the top rungs of power. Most of the maurang mines are in Jalaun district in Urai and Kalpi tehsils. In the Urai tehsil main mines like Simiria, Kharka, Muhana Haidalpur, Dadri, Amrod are working, but the special thing is that through the lease holders of Dadri and Amrod MM-11 was given by unlawful means for other such mines where for some reason a ban had been levied on mining or a lease was not there. When this racket was exposed, then the administration started talking strongly about registering an FIR against the lease holder of the maurang mine of Dadri. One outspoken leader connected with a Minister in the top power rungs then even issued an order to the mining officer that no such FIR will be filed. After the order of the leader, officers were silenced and they thought it best to remain silent. Similarly in Kalpi tehsil, mines like Himanpura, Samsi, Mohar Devi, Bhendi Khurd are working. The interesting thing is that at the Mohar Devi and Samsi mine neither has the lease been approved, nor is permission there for mining as private land, but still mining is being done illegally and indiscriminately here through collusion of the top leaders of the Government and officers of the Mining department by using MM-11 of other lease holders. To collect the immeasurable money coming in from the racket of mining, the top leadership has also, along with the Minister, attached one special person.
Examples of such nefarious activities of Ministers are in abundance. Minister of State for Textiles and Sericulture, Shiv Kumar Beria’s unbridled statements and gauche activities against his own Government and administration have shamed the Akhilesh Government. The incident of once again including in the Cabinet MLA Vinod Kumar Singh aka Pandit Singh, who was involved in the kidnapping of a Chief Medical Officer (CMO), also did nothing to beautify the Akhilesh Government’s image. In October 2012, Pandit Singh was removed from the Cabinet for his alleged role in the matter of kidnapping of a CMO but Akhilesh again took him back into the Cabinet. It should be recalled that Pandit Singh, to create pressure for appointment of his people in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) had kidnapped former CMO S P Singh. The power of Pandit Singh’s domination is such that in the kidnapping case, not only the related CMO, but former DM Abhay, SP Kripa Shankar, CDO Arvind Singh also had to go underground. Later, on October 13, the Government transferred all these officers from there. Investigation of the matter was given to the Divisional Commissioner of Lucknow, but former Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Mittal kept accused Pandit Singh himself out of the ambit of investigation. Pandit Singh’s name was also highlighted in the 35 thousand crore rupees food scam which happened during the last SP Government’s tenure.
To check the moral standing of Ministers and MLA’s of the Akhilesh Government a media organisation had done a sting operation on around 1 dozen people related to the Government and had made a small attempt to expose the corruption going on in the lobby of the Government. Amongst the people who agreed to do work after taking money, the names of the Advisor in the Labour and Employment Department of the State, who had also been a Minister of State — Haji Mohamad Abbas, Chairman of the Agricultural Research Council who had been a Minister of State — Shri Prakash Rai, having status of Minister of State and Chairman of Essential Commodities Corporation — Haji Ikram Qureshi, SP MLA and former Minister Shakir Ali, Former Minister of State Anand Sen Yadav, SP MLA Chandra Rawat, SP MLA Sharda Pratap Shukla, Member of National Committee of SP Ram Prakash Yadav, Secretary of SP’s youth front Satish Yadav, SP District Secretary of Sambhal, Urman Singh Yadav, Chief of Uttar Pradesh Nav Nirman Sena, Amit Aggrawal aka Amit Jani and former Councilor of Lucknow, Ayaz Ahmed etc, are included. These Ministers asked for a bribe of 8-13 lakhs from people for the appointment of BDO in the Agriculture Development department of Uttar Pradesh. At many places half the amount of the bribe was demanded beforehand as token money. The claim was also made that Panchayati Raj department appointments too are being made on this basis. Some people among them also claimed that they have an understanding with senior SP leaders and Ministers.
Except two times Minister SP MLA Shakir Ali all these leaders promised appointments by taking money. Shakir Ali alone remained a leader who refused to do work only after taking a bribe. The irony is that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav first removed 35 and then the second time removed 82 Ministers from a virtual army of ‘status Ministers’ and gained headlines. But the reality is that arrangements for the suspended Ministers entry from the backdoor are underway. Some have already become strong indirectly.
Cases of police officials exposing corruption of Ministers being transferred have also highlighted the priorities of the Government. You will recall that the police superintendent of Gonda, Navneet Rana, who had given proof of K C Pandey’s (former Chief of the Sugar Corporation) corruption and the protection being given to animal trafficking by him was transferred. Apart from this cases of serious crimes are pending against 2 dozen Ministers at different levels and it will be on the basis of these images that the Samajwadi Party will have to enter the election fray in 2017.
The Samajwadi Party has completed half its term in Uttar Pradesh, the biggest State of the country. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav keeps extolling the work done by him during this duration at some or the other occasion. And work is being done too. But in front of the Government and the Samajwadi Party the most important issue is this: that in the State Cabinet, barring a few names, the rest of the Ministers have proved to be totally useless. On one side, the Samajwadi Party is looking towards the assembly elections of 2017. But on the other side it is looking at the faces surrounding itself and in power on whom it will have to rely and go to the court of the public.