UP mein Yogi Raj-- the advent of Adityanath

BY ANKITA PANDEY| IN Regional Media | 05/04/2017
While the English press focused on abattoirs and anti-Romeo squads, reporting in the Hindi press ranged across a wide canvas of pressing issues.
A HOOT special report. Research: ANKITA PANDEY

 

This report is based on coverage in the Lucknow editions of three leading Hindi dailies – Amar Ujala,  Hindustan and Dainik Jagran - in the period March 19-25.

 

Hindi newspapers can be very vivid, in language and detail. In the days following Yogi Adityanath’s ascension to chief ministership (reported variously  as ‘Sinhasan tak pahuncha Sanyasi’, ‘Uttar Pradesh mein Yogi Raj’, and  ‘Adityanath abhi UP ke mahant’) they brought alive the image of a chief minister firing on all cylinders:

  • 72 ghante mein badle transformer. (Transformers in rural areas to be replaced in 72 hours);
  • 1 April se 30 kendron par hogi genhu ki kharid. (30 centres for wheat procurement);  
  • Kisano ki rin mafiko 62 hazar crore ki darkar (Rs 62,000 crore is what a loan waiver for farmers will cost);
  • CM ka pahla nirdesh--15 din mein bataye sampatti, tweet kar mahilao ki suraksha ka dilaya bharosa (His first order - disclose wealth in 15 days, he tweeted to assure women that they would be safe);
  • Mukhya mantri ne kaha navratra mein na ho gadbad (The CM ordered that the Navratras should be trouble free);
  • 100 buchad khane, saikado dukane band karai (sanrakshit pashu ka vadh karte pakda)(A hundred slaughter houses, and hundreds of shops closed, people caught slaughtering protected animals);
  • Daftaro mein ab biometric hazri (Biometrics to be used to record office attendance);
  • Mafia thekedaron ka registration kare radd: Yogi (Mafia contractors will lose their registration);
  • Go taskari par tatkal rok lagaye (Cow smuggling to be stopped at once);
  • Police dikhne lagi chust, kanoon vyavstha par kam shuru (The police get cracking to restore law and order);
  • Anti Romeo squad ke 23 dal gathit (23 anti Romeo squads formed);
  • Sarkari mahakamon mein teji se shuru hua safai abhiyan. (Cleanliness mission speeded up at government  places);

 

All this in the first few days. Other headlines in the papers converted the flurry of orders and action into succinct messaging following the change in government such as UP mein kanun ka raj chalega (UP will have rule of law), UP me dange nahi hone denge (We will not allow riots in the state), and UP banega Modi ke sapno ka Pradesh (UP will become the state that Modi dreams of). It sounded as if the previous government had converted the state into a Wild West and given it neither development nor governance.

 

Agenda setting and exhorting inclusiveness

The Dainik Jagran took its agenda-setting role very seriously in the immediate aftermath of the elections, writing eight editorials in seven days. Amar Ujala carried just one editorial in the week following his appointment and Hindustan, strangely, none.

Right after the results, Dainik Jagran struck a cautionary note, and stressed the sabka saath sabka vikas promise of the Prime Minister.  Its first edit on the change in government  focused on the decision to have two deputy chief  ministers. It noted the selection of those who had not even contested the election. Was it only to balance caste equations, it asked, or was there a regional  representation basis? Why was there no deputy CM from Western UP? The decision to have two CMs was a first, it said, and could be justified only if there was a development logic to it, not just a caste one.

Then it tackled inclusiveness.  It did not mention Muslims or Dalits  but said the matter of sabka saath sabka vikas could not be stressed enough, adding that it was a challenge that the new government had to focus on from day one. “Sarkar bhale hi bahumat se banti ho, lekin who chalti sarvamat se hi.”(a government may be formed because of a majority, but it has to be run by consensus.) It added that, along with meeting expectations, the new government would have to dispel reservations many had about the new dispensation.

"A government may be formed because of a majority, but it has to be run by consensus."

The second editorial on March 20, dwelt at length on Adityanath’s  image as a Hindutva hardliner, and suggested that the same inclusiveness that he seems to have demonstrated in running his Gorakhpur Math, should also be demonstrated in running the state. It added that minorities needed to feel reassured.

Amar Ujala’s first and only editorial on the change in leadership in UP began by noting the political intentions in selecting him (linked to the 2019 election) and observed that, though his image was of  an “Hindutvavadi”, he had talked of development for all on taking over and it might be a good idea to trust him. 

It then went on to list the development challenges facing UP, noted the appointment of two deputy ministers, and said much the same thing that Dainik Jagran did: that even if their selection had been to appease  caste factions, they should be deployed to meet the state’s serious development challenges. It mentioned the crisis in the agriculture sector and farmers’ suicides and suggested that the new government develop a roadmap for tackling such issues.

Over six days following its first edit, Dainik Jagran wrote a daily edit, laying out the agenda for the new government.  The sub-text of these sermons was that the state had suffered from poor administration and corruption under the Samajwadi Party. The paper carried an entire edit on the issue of agricultural distress and  another editorial focused on making suitable appointments to organizations ridden with corruption. There were also mentions of tackling cheating in exams, lawlessness, and the power shortfall.

Dainik Jagran also  editorialised on the issue of implementing Swachata Abhiyan. Another editorial welcomed the drive against illegal slaughter houses which it said were a nuisance. Finally it carried an edit on the complaints by BSP chief Mayawati and others on Electronic Voting Machines, suggesting they bring forward evidence of tampering.

 

What  did Muslims think and say?

While Dainik Jagran covered a greater diversity of views among the minorities compared to the other papers, Ujala gave more space to the minority issue. It was the most critical among the three newsapapers. It noted that the Yogi was a major crowd puller which helped his rise. However, it added that he had openly played the communal card during the  elections (Mahant ne khul kar khela tha dhruvikaran card, Ujala, March 19, page 4).

The paper suggested that providing equal opportunities to minorities would be a key challenge facing Adityanath as he is expected to follow the PM’s slogan “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas” One headline said tartly: “Sher savari ke bhi apne khatre,” Ujala, March 19, page 2 (Riding a tiger has its dangers).

Ujala noted the absence of Jammu & Kashmir’s CM Mehbooba Mufti in the swearing-in ceremony and attributed this to Yogi’s divisive image (Yogi ki kattar chhavi ke chalte Mehbooba Mufti ke thame kadam, March 20, page 13). But it also published Asaduddin Owaisi’s statement that the BJP’s victory was a lesson to those who had cheated Muslims for 70 years (Bhajpa ki jeet sattar saalon se musalmanon ko chhalne walon ke liye sabak: Owaisi, March 20, page 13).

Hindustan published a similar statement by Shahabuddin Rizvi, National Secretary of Tanzeem Ulema-e-Islam, a Sufi Sunni organization, who lamented that other parties have only used Muslims (Madaraso ki dikkate dur kare mukhya mantri: Rizvi, March 21, page 7). It also published Rizvi’s appeal for the development of madarasas as he believed that the BJP government is different from previous BSP and SP governments.

Ujala published the opinion of Muslim scholars (Muslim buddhijivi bole khaufjada na ho nayi sarkar ka swagat karein - sakaratmak soch ke sath nayi sarkar ka swagat karein musalman, March 20, page 1 and 13), while Jagran gave space to both ordinary people and religious leaders. The paper also  included writers, poets, and academics, mostly Shias based in Lucknow, and Islamic scholars from four leading Sunni seminaries in  UP.

The scholars refused to interfere in political matters, but noted that the massive electoral victory increased the BJP’s responsibilities. But one of them noted that Mayawati lost due to her over-confidence and that the politician Yogi has to transform himself into CM Yogi to take everyone along. Others quoted in Ujala argued that it would be wrong to pre-judge the BJP and Adityanath.

Jagran interviewed a skilled worker, a businessman, women social workers, the president of Bazm-e-Khawateen, the president of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, the president of the All India Shia Chand Committee, and leading Lucknow-based Islamic scholars. The latter stressed the need for inclusive government and the need for Adityanath to dispel misconceptions about himself. While the women called for inclusive government, they were willing to give some time to Adityanath and also stressed the issue of women’s security. One of them hoped that he would look into triple talaq and women’s reservations.

The skilled worker hoped that the government will protect the interests of traditional artisans, while the businessman hoped for better law and order and proper implementation of GST without harassing traders and without imposing additional burden on consumers.

"Jagran also covered the Christian and Sikh communities."

Jagran also covered the Christian and Sikh communities. The representative of the Catholic community noted its role in the field of education and its importance for the development of the country, while an elderly Catholic was quoted as saying he hoped for stricter implementation of laws and policies for senior citizens.

The Sikh representative hoped that the CM would break with tradition and appoint a Sikh for the first time as the head of the Minority Commission.

The plight of Muslim women affected by triple talaq attracted regular attention after the election. On March 22, both Ujala and Jagran published news of the arrest of the husband and father-in-law of Aatia, a woman who is fighting a divorce case. Ujala also covered a seminar on triple talaq organized by the Muslim Welfare Manch (Teen talaq ke mudde par Muslim mahilaye Modi ke sath, March 19, page 22).

Hindustan reported that Mohd Kalbe Sadiq, vice president of the All India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board, argued that Muslims have to fear people like Mohamed Ayub (Chairperson, Peace Party) and Owaisi (All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) rather than Adityanath. Sadiq said he hoped that triple talaq would be abolished soon (Khatam hoga teen talaq ka pravdhan, March 20, page 13). 

While noting the trust deficit, the newspapers also drew attention to the support of Muslims for the BJP and Adityanath’s work for them, such as helping remove illegal encroachments over madrasa land, clearing roadblocks in front of masjids and also in helping a Muslim woman abandoned by her husband (Gorakhnath Mandir me Muslimon ke liye hoti hai panchayat, Ujala, March 20, page 13).

Ujala also highlighted the BJP’s proximity to the Shia community (Najma ke damad one ka mila fayda, March 20, page 13). Hindustan observedthat Adityanath was against discrimination against any community (Samrasata abhiyan se badhaya kad, March 19, page 6). Jagran drew attention to a couplet written on the walls of Gorakhnath temple expressing respect for the places of worship of all communities (Samajik samrasta ka dhvajvahak hai Gorkhnath mandir, March 20, page 14).

Jagran also pointed out that several Muslim families have been staying within the temple compound for generations and are engaged in various professions. In particular, some of the families are responsible for all construction work in the temple (Mandir me pidiyo se rahte hain kai Musalman parivar bhi, Jagran, March 20, page 14).

 

Tackling the many  ills that plague UP

Farmers’ issues, electricity supply, encephalitis, traffic problems, infrastructure and industrial development and cheating in examinations also received significant attention.

The newspapers agreed that UP’s condition was bad (Yogi se ummidein, Ujala, March 20, page 14; Badi jeet badi chunauti, Jagran, March 19, page 15; Shahar ko loot hatya se sukoon chahiye, Hindustan, March 20, page 6). They highlighted key election promises such as farm loan waivers, industrial development, electricity supply, women’s safety, and regulation of illegal slaughterhouses (Pahle char kam jin par tiki hai sabkiniganhein, Ujala, March 21, page 4).

 

These are the main topics the papers raised:   

Farmers: Jagranreminded the BJP of its promise to waive farm loans (Kisano ki rin mafi ko 62 hazar crore ki hai darkar, March 19, page 20).

An editorial in Ujala highlighted the expectations of the agricultural sector (Yogi se ummide, page 14). It also drew attention to the draught in Bundelkhand region.

"An editorial in Ujala highlighted the expectations of the agricultural sector."

In addition, the three newspapers highlighted the issue of minimum support prices for wheat and rice (Manjuri ki bant jo rahi hai Genhu ki sarkari kharid, Jagran, March 22, page 15). Ujala published the statement of newly elected MLA Shrikant Sharma calling for payment of reasonable prices to farmers (Navniyukt upmukhyamantriyo aur mantriyo ne ginai prathmiktayein, March 20, page 5). Hindustan published the CM’s order to pay a minimum support price to farmers on time and arrange for the safe storage of production (Kisano ko samay se mile bhugtan, March 21, page 10).

All three reported that Adityanath addressed this issue in his meetings with officers. Hindustan and Jagran highlighted his instruction on the purchase of 80 lakh metric tonnes of wheat instead of the 40 lakh decided earlier. However, it was noted that there was no change in the minimum support price (Genhu ki kharid me pardarshita ho, Hindustan, March 25, page 2; Genhu kray neeti sikhne jayegi team Chhattisgarh, Jagran, March 25, page 13).

On March 25, Ujala reported the issue of potato and wheat farmers in greater detail and highlighted the target of purchasing 80 lakh metric tonnes of wheat for the year 2017. It also pointed out that, with the average production of 300 lakh metric tonnes of wheat, even 25 per cent of the total production was not set as the target of purchase by the  government in earlier years (Kisano ko nai sarkar ke kadmo ka intezar, Ujala, March 25, page 9).

Electricity: Ujala highlighted Adityanath’s nine point agenda on the supply of electricity (Bijali supply har haal me roster kehisab se ho, March 21, page 4). Hindustan highlighted the difficulty in improving electricity supply unless theft is checked (Bijali chori par ankush lagana hoga, March 20, page 6). Ujala and Jagran published the UP Engineers’ Association’s statement supporting the government’s aim to improve the electricity situation (Bijali vyavstha sudharane me sahyog denge Engineers, Ujala, March 20, page 15; Vidyut abhiyantao ne di mukhya mantra ko badhai, Jagran, March 20, page 15).

Jagran drew attention to the traffic problems in Lucknow (Bahar se aanevali overload gadio par karvai nahi, March 21, page 8). Hindustan also published a report on Lucknow’s traffic system problems and noted that after the formation of the new government, the transport commissioner issued guidelines on stopping illegal taxis in the city (Shahar me dagga mar vahan chalne band honge, March 21, page 6). Jagran expressed hope regarding the revival of industrial development in cities such as Kanpur (Ab audyogik caridor ko lagege pankh, Jagran, March 20, page 17).

Health and cleanliness: The newspapers reported on encephalitis, a major health issue in eastern UP (Yogi se ummide, Ujala, March 20, page 14; Japani encephalitis se nipatana sarkar ke liye badi chunauti, Jagran, March 21, page 10). Jagran also noted the health minister’s action plan to deal with fake medicines (Nakali davao ke racket par lagega ankush, March 24, page  6).

Jagran and Hindustan complained of hospital administrations keeping the  minister in the dark about the public’s problems (Mantri ke daure se pahle marijo ko dhamkaya gaya, Hindustan, March 24, page 9; Mantri ke nirikshan se pahle di dhamki, Jagran, March 24, page 9).

Jagran highlighted the issue of cleanliness in an editorial (Swachhata ko banaye sanskar, March 25, page 14). In another editorial, the paper emphasized the need to implement development central schemes such as Namami Gange and the defecation-free programme which were not properly implemented by the previous government. Jagran  noted that not a single district in UP was free of open defecation (Kasauti badi, March 21).

Education: Ujala highlighted the need for attention to the education system, mainly the primary sector, in an editorial (Yogi se ummidein, March 20, page 14). Jagran reported on copying in examinations. In an editorial, Jagran expected prompt action from the new government on the lines of Kalyan Singh’s government (Kasauti badi, March 21). It also reminded the new government of an election speech by PM Modi in Gonda district on this issue (Netao ke college sudhare na system, March 21, page 10). In another editorial, Jagran raised the problem of a syndicate which facilitates copying and remains operational despite changes in government (Toppers par nigah, March 22, page 12).

Overall, the papers suggested that the controversial new CM has his work cut out for him if he wants to change the quality of life for UP citizens.

 

Ankita Pandey is an independent researcher based in Bengaluru.

 

 

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