Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has turned the urban local body polls in the state to a precursor for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in just seves.
He has pledged to cleanse the area of garbage alongside the elimination of mafia and criminals. The local body polls are scheduled in two stages on 4 May and 11 May, with the vote count on 13 May.
Just a fortnight after the killing of gangster-politician Atiq Ahmed in Prayagraj, Adityanath's 19 public meetings in seven days have set the tone for BJP's upcoming campaign for urban body as well as Lok Sabha polls.
His speeches in each of the rallies highlighted the state government's eradication of the "mafia", "aparadhi", "danga", "gunda" and "tamancha" culture, consistently associating it with the former Samajwadi Party-led government in the state.
CM Yogi's public meetings are backed by the video campaigns by the state BJP's official Youtube channel that link Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav with criminals like Atiq Ahmed and Mukhtar Ansari.
The BJP emphasises that these criminals are pushing for Akhilesh's resurgence. Akhilesh Yadav commenced his campaign in Gorakhpur on Sunday, where he targeted CM Yogi on issues of cleanliness and law and order.
Yadav said that people are tired of the criminal incidents in the state and claimed that incidents of rape and robbery are at their peak. He further accused the BJP of failing to clean the streets and drains of cities during their six-year tenure.
Adityanath's focus during his four to five daily public meetings has been on the security of common man and maintaining strict law and order.
He has exhorted the crown in several of his meetings to establish a "triple engine government" by securing a majority in the "shahar ki sarkar" alongside the state and central governments. In almost all meetings, CM Yogi emphasises the state's goal of improving conditions in urban areas by combating both waste and crime.
He paints a grim picture of the fate of criminal "mafias" in Uttar Pradesh, while touting the development initiatives implemented by his government.
The Chief Minister had a busy day on 24 April, attending and addressing three public meetings in Saharanpur, Shamli and Amroha districts of Western Uttar Pradesh.
During his speech in Shamli, he made a remark about how the supporters of mafia and criminals have disappeared along with the criminals themselves.
He mentioned that there is no one left to shed a tear for them, emphasising how their influence has been greatly reduced.
CM Yogi sought the support for BJP candidates in Amroha, a city famous for its drums.
CM Yogi said while locals have kept the traditional instrument like drums alive, “humnein bhi dholak bajakar mafia ko rasatal mein pahunchane ka kaam kiya hai (We have also worked to beat the mafia and sent them to abyss)," reports Indian Express.
In Saharanpur, he said, “No curfew, no danga, UP mein sab changa (No curfew, no riots, all is well in UP).”
On 25 April, CM Yogi delivered speeches at public events in Rae Bareli, Unnao, and Lucknow. Underlining his 'bulldozer baba' image, he said, "Mafia kehta hai jaan baksha do, thela lagakar ji lunga" (Mafia begs for life, let me be a street vendor and survive).
Later that same day in Unnao, he claimed that, prior to 2017, people associated with a particular political party used to flaunt country-made weapons.
"2017 ke pehle, party vishesh se jure logon ke haath mein tamanche hote they," he alleged.
During his meetings on 27 April in Mathura, Firozabad, and Agra, Adityanath expressed his government's main goal of eliminating criminals and filth from the state.
"Humari sarkar ki ek hi yukti, apradhi aur gandagi se mile Pradesh ko mukti (Our Government has only one objective – to clear the state of criminals and filth)," CM Yogi said.
Additionally, in Agra, he remarked that the city's youth have "tablets" instead of "tamanche," or guns.
The following day, he visited Sitapur, Lakhimpur, Balrampur, and Gorakhpur.
Referring to the local body elections as "dev-asur sangram" (contest between gods and demons) in Sitapur, CM Yogi described the mafia, criminal, and corrupt individuals as the faces of demons.
Additionally, he argued in Gorakhpur that caste-based politics not only failed the people, but also created criminals and mafias in the state.
In his public meetings in Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Deoria, Kushinagar and Varanasi, on Saturday, Adityanath referred to the kidnapping of Nand Kishore Rungta (a businessman, he was kidnapped in January 1997) and promised that no mafia or criminal can roam freely on the streets and dare to kidnap now.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.