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Dicey Fate? Battle for Uttar Pradesh causes Collateral damage to the state

While it earned Rs 4,494 crore in tax in November, the collection slipped in December and is set to go down further in January and February due to engagement of employees and officials in election duty

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Uttar Pradesh
CM Akhilesh Yadav-UP Elections, Source- Wikimedia
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-by Mohit Dubey

Lucknow, 14 February 2017: Uttar Pradesh’s revenue has taken a big hit — first due to demonetization and now because most government employees are out on election duty.

Officials in the concerned departments fear that the revenue targets for the current fiscal might take a knock of 25-30 per cent.

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The Sales Tax Department, an official told IANS, has seen a drop in collections in the past three months.

While it earned Rs 4,494 crore in tax in November, the collection slipped in December and is set to go down further in January and February due to engagement of employees and officials in election duty.

The Excise Department, the cash cow, has also taken a beating in revenue collection. An official said that as against a target of Rs 1,443 crore in December, the collection was down at Rs 1,345 crore.

With elections for the 403-seat Uttar Pradesh assembly underway, even sale of liquor has fallen, partly because of strictures from the Election Commission.

The stamp and registration revenue target was Rs 12,130 crore but has been downsized in a big way, with collections dropping to Rs 9,222 crore.

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The target for this month has been scaled down to Rs 13,953 crore from Rs 16,319.60 crore (a loss of Rs 2,366 crore).

The Sales and Trade Tax target has been revised from Rs 57,940.30 crore to Rs 51,508.93 crore.

The ongoing elections have also hit hearings and disposal at revenue courts.

By a conservative official estimate, in Lucknow alone, more than 12,000 cases have come to a halt as officials are on election duty.

All cases being heard in the district magistrates’ courts and other revenue courts have now been given dates after March 14, by when probably a new government would be in place.

Cases pending before officials of five tehsils in Lucknow and others have also been deferred till March.

And with traffic police too deployed on election duty, even traffic in Lucknow is affected.

For about five days, traffic snarls have become the order of the day. A police officer told IANS that 45 Senior Head Constables, 50 Head Constables and 280 Constables have been pulled out for 26 days of election duty.

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Finding itself short-staffed to manage traffic — not to speak of increased VIP movement due to the elections — the traffic department is trying to rope in NCC cadets and Civil Defense wardens to help them out.

The Haj pilgrimage process too has been put on hold in more than one way. The lottery taken out to name the lucky selected ones that usually takes place between March 1 and 8 has been shifted to a later date.

And as politicians are busy campaigning, wooing voters, there are thousands who are hit by election blues and have become collateral damage! (IANS)

 

 

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Is UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath losing his shine?

His failure to deliver on his promise to get all pot-holed roads fixed by a given deadline last year; the rollback -- under pressure -- in privatisation of the power sector in five cities

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Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath. IANS

Is Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath — in power for just over a year — fast losing his lustre?

Many here feel so.

A litany of complaints about his public conduct, his behaviour with colleagues as well as common people is fast eroding the aura he had built up as the five-time Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur who was catapulted to the Chief Minister’s office of a socially diverse and politically volatile state of 220 million people.

Adityanath Yogi is known for his aggression and excellent oratory skills.
Adityanath Yogi is known for his aggression and excellent oratory skills.

Last week, 24-year-old Ayush Bansal shocked many when he broke down in front of media in Gorakhpur and disclosed how the monk-turned-Chief Minister mocked him during a “junta darbaar” where he had gone to complain about a land-grab case in which independent legislator from Nautanwa, Amanmani Tripathi, was involved.

He also accused the Chief Minister of calling him “awaraa” (wayward) and pushing him while throwing his file in the air. “Maharaj ji angrily snapped at me and said my work will never be done and that I should get out of his sight,” Bansal told IANS.

While officials got down to damage control and said the matter was being looked into, the fact that Adityanath behaved in a manner unbecoming of a Chief Minister was neither contradicted by officials nor denied by the ruling party.

Barely had the din over this episode died down when two MPs of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) complained of similar behaviour. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP MP from Robertsganj Chhote Lal Kharwar, accused Adityanath of “scolding him and asking him to get out”. The MP said he was deeply pained at the behavior of the Chief Minister as he tried to draw his attention to issues faced by the party faithful.

Ayodhya
In the picture, Yogi Adityanath addressing a rally at Raipur. Wikimedia Commons

“Never did the local administration listen to my plaints and when I went to meet the Chief Minister twice over many issues, ‘unhone mujhe daantkar bhaga diya’ (he scolded me and chased me away),” the lawmaker said in his letter.

The BJP leader has also shot off a letter to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, seeking help. Lal also says that definite proof of wrong-doing and corruption presented by him went unheard and unaddressed. What is surprising is that all this happened to a man who is the state president of the BJP’s SC/ST Morcha.

While Modi is learnt to have assured Lal of action, there are other similar murmurs about Adityanath’s rough behaviour. Etawah MP Ashok Dohre has also written to Modi accusing the state police of lodging fake cases against SCs and STs during the Bharat Bandh. When asked why he did not petition the Chief Minister, Dohre said he considered Modi his leader, and thus petitioned him.

Also Read: Little Known Facts About U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

Alarmed by the sudden “unease” among the party’s lawmakers, Amit Shah summoned Yogi to New Delhi over the weekend and is learnt to have asked him to mend his ways. Adityanth also met Modi. Interestingly, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who party insiders admit doesn’t see eye to eye with Yogi, was also called to Delhi at the same time.

Ironically, till not long ago, the 45-year-old Chief Minister was being venerated by the party faithful as a man next only to Modi. Insiders, however, now admit that not only has Adityanath failed to show his “pakad” (hold) on the party, but is also “awkwardly arrogant in his public conduct”, and not very able in his administration.

“He may be a busy man, so have been his predecessors… he remains inaccessible and uses foul and unacceptable language at times,” conceded a senior minister who did not wish to be named. Though stopping short of calling the Chief Minister arrogant, he suggested that “Yogi-ji is better advised to be more courteous and improve his time management”.

A senior party functionary too noted “the changing ways of Maharaj-ji”, though he felt “mood swings and the tongue-lashings could be because he has to handle a big state like Uttar Pradesh”.

Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath is losing his shine. (IANS)

A senior bureaucrat also alleged that the Chief Minister often “goes off the handle” and could be very acerbic in his dealing with officials. The Chief Minister’s loyalists, however, point out that he does not like people to hang around him and wants officials to deliver fast and work within the system that has been set up. When there is any breach, he loses his temper, a close aide told IANS.

His failure to deliver on his promise to get all pot-holed roads fixed by a given deadline last year; the rollback — under pressure — in privatisation of the power sector in five cities; the poor showing in the Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha by-polls and reports that he and his deputy, Keshav Prasad Maurya, don’t get along well have already rung alarm bells in the establishment, sources said. IANS