The final call is always mine, Akhilesh Yadav says

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  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The final call is always mine, Akhilesh Yadav says in interview with TOI


    The country's youngest chief minister has just done 100 days in office. In this time, Akhilesh Yadav has kept a very low profile. Was this because he has been overshadowed by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and his band of followers? Or, is it that Akhilesh has been busy working out things for the country's biggest state and has a few surprises up his sleeves? Akhilesh insisted it's the latter when Pravin Kumar, Ashish Tripathi & Swati Mathur met him in his Lucknow residence for a 120-minute free-wheeling interview. Excerpts:

    In the 100 days since you have been in office, how has life changed for you? What do you miss the most?

    Freedom. All kinds of freedom. In life and in politics, one has to take this in one's stride. During the election campaign, when we travelled on board the Kranti Rath, there were days when we toured continuously for over 10 days together. That is part of this profession. It is difficult. It is no longer possible to enjoy spare time with your family, and for yourself. Somewhere, you have to call for a compromise. Anyway, politicians are not supposed to go on a holiday (smiles when told Rahul Gandhi had just had one). As far as spending time with my children is concerned, birthdays and important events are still celebrated together, wherever I am. Someone told me there was no celebration of any kind in the CM's bungalow for the past 10-15 years, so I hosted a big party on June 1, to celebrate my twins --Tina and Arjun's -- birthday.
    What would you think has been your biggest challenge in UP?

    Uttar Pradesh is a very big state. So the problems are immense. Take the power crisis, for instance. Hundred days are not enough to address this problem. Even if i want to set up solar power plants in the state, it will not be possible to show results in 90 days. I am happy about the fact that the people of UP realise that the energy crisis is a result of the previous regime's inefficient handling of the situation. We can't do away with the baggage we have carried forward, but we can certainly assure people that we will make improvements. If the previous government had done something, it would have been easier for us to set things right. For instance, take the condition of transformers that have been bought. Cheap quality transformers were purchased; the parameters on which meters were bought was also compromised. Who can be held responsible for it now. The problem is in the production and the distribution. In addition, our plant load factor is poor, at 50-60%. In distribution also, we lose nearly 40-50%. Poor equipment have been bought. An officer told me good quality equipment was not bought because it was too expensive. I argued that the cheaper equipment doesn't last even a week. If you buy good equipment from outside, the local vendors in Lucknow and Ghaziabad will be forced to improve their standards in order to compete. If they can't catch up, they will be forced to do something else.

    Isn't that the tyranny of L1. Every government faces that. In a big to find the lowest bidder, quality gets compromised.

    We have to sort it out if the situation has to be improved. The procedures have to be followed; so there is no escaping the bidding and tendering process, but quality has to be maintained. If transformers in Lucknow blow up, new ones are being brought in from Faizabad. What will you do when they fail in Faizabad? There, the people simply end up saying the previous government and this one have both been inefficient. So something has to be done. A standard has to be developed.

    The power crisis cannot be turned around overnight, but what about the law and order situation in the state? It has become a discussion point, and it is not helping the Samajwadi government's image.

    I do agree with you. And we also face these question from the opposition. But tell me an example where an incident occurs and the Samajwadi government has not taken action, or taken incorrect action. In some cases, we accept we have made mistakes. There have been reports of lekhpals and the police accepting money. Just the other day a newspaper published picture of police personnel are found asleep while on duty. There is a lot of work that we need to do. There is no doubt the law and order situation needs to be improved. At the same time, we also need to improve the conditions in which the police officers in the state are working. For instance, the first time I went to one programme, I saw that barricades were placed till the stage I was to be on. Roads were washed and the police officers were in place nearly four hours in advance, to show their respect to me. I did away with all the unnecessary protocol which was a part of the former regime ('purana raj-kaaj abhi bhi chal raha tha).

    During the election campaign, you managed to keep people like DP Yadav at bay. After coming to power, however, you have inducted someone like Raja Bhaiyya, whose image, at least, is tainted.

    As far as Raja Bhaiyya is concerned, he was jailed twice by the BSP government. The current case shows that he was involved in looting Rs 40, along with one MLA and an MP. This is not possible. He is incapable of looting Rs 40. And for this he stayed in jail for many months. The last time, when he was charged with the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the BSP government wanted him to join the BSP. The actions against him were initiated as a coercive measure to make him join the ruling party; even the police and administration now accepts that they were under pressure to take action against him so he would give in to the government's demands. That is the time when he and other from his family were jailed. Even then we took up for him. There's one thing that can be said about Samajwadi Party; we will always stick our necks out for those who have stuck by us during bad times.

    So has the Congress also supported you through bad patches?

    No. In fact, Congress only seeks our help when they are going through some trouble. Having said that, the Samajwadi Party is committed to taking action against anyone who takes the law in his hands, we will initiate action. But I have to say this, now, we don't have any excuses to give. Even in the case of power situation, I will not make any excuses once the government completes six months in office that it was undoing of the previous government. And after one year, in fact, we will not at all be talking about what the BSP government did or did not do. We will hold ourselves accountable for everything and let our work speak for itself. We will be answerable to the people. Some officers in the state government haven't understood this message yet. But they will, with time.

    This does seem to be an issue though, which had been raised in the Assembly as well; that you are a young, inexperienced CM and can be taken for a ride easily. Do you feel that?

    This has come up in the house also. And I have been told there are many uncles pulling the strings. But the ultimate decision is mine. If I get good advice from someone, regardless of the person's age, I will be receptive to it. But if i find that the advice is not good, I will not listen.

    But the belief that your father is actually in charge?

    At the time we started campaigning for the UP elections, I remember some very senior leaders from the party telling me not to ride the bicycle. They said that it will not only affect my own health, but also that of all the other youth who accompanied me. I did not listen to them, though. Later, they realised that what we did was right. We took the Kranti Rath to Kanpur and then cycled onwards even after the local administration ordered our stage to be dismantled. We were undeterred. People may say what they want but I will only take the advice that I know will benefit the state. Six months on, I can promise you that I will not be absolved of my responsibilities to the development of this state.

    The traditional value system we are a product of makes it difficult to turn down what our elders tell us to. Have you felt pressure from the family?

    No. I have said that they definitely express their views, whether it is in the House or outside. However, I only accept and implement what I think is right. It is not incorrect to take advice, whether it is from family, government officials or even press.

    You have kept the bulk of the portfolios with yourself - 58 of them.

    (interrupts, "it's actually 61")

    How do you manage? You must be visiting one portfolio once in about two months?

    Yes. But there are some that do not require too much time. Like, civil aviation.

    People also say it is indicative of lack of talent in your team; or lack of trust?

    That is not true. The departments that no one else takes come to the CM. The important portfolios, of course, are with me. Finance is important because it pertains to very important decisions. If, for instance, you are not able to give away the personal computers and laptops, how will you fulfill poll promises?

    To fulfill your poll promises, you need nearly Rs 97,000 crore. How are you working out the finances?

    Our target is Rs 72,000 crore. Last year, receipts of Rs 62,000 crore are estimated from the state's own tax revenue under the budget estimates, which we believe, is enough to manage things. In addition, the Central government funds, which are not a part of the state budget, will also contribute to running several schemes. Funds for National Rural Health Mission and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, for instance, will also help. Similarly, there are other initiatives planned, where we will direct more money into the state coffers to take up development initiatives. State finances were in poor shape when we took over the reins of the government. It will take some time to put things back on track, but we are working hard to pool in the funds from wherever we can. Things are now under control.

    You will require a substantial amount of fund inflow to fulfil your polls promises across sectors.

    I don't think so. In some cases, like the Kanya Vidya Dhan scheme, we have funds already to support the scheme. The bigger challenge for us is the distribution of laptops and tablets. Tablets are only going to cost us between Rs 3000 and Rs 4000 per piece because bulk orders will be placed.

    You also talked about distribution of cycles.

    That is already proposed under a Central government scheme. We did talk about setting up factories for cycles and rickshaws in the state. Wait for the Assembly session to end; you will get to know of our plan regarding the free and subsidised distribution of cycles.

    In your election campaign, you also spoke of farm loan waivers.

    Yes, we talked about waivers for farmers whose land has been mortgaged and have taken loans of up to Rs 50,000 from nationalised banks. For this we have already released Rs 500 crore to the cooperative. There is a large amount of loan that we will need to waive. This will be implemented once the budget is passed. A waiver policy will be put in place to govern the farm. A similar policy will also govern the distribution of laptops and tablets. Now that the consultants have been appointed, we will move forward on this. Even for construction of roads, we have adopted the public private partnership and Build Operate Transfer model to implement projects. We have nearly 21 road projects that will be built through these schemes.

    You have pushed development projects in Amethi and Rae Bareli. This has created hope at the Centre that the Samajwadi Party might even join the UPA.

    We want development at all cost. Farmers have handed over nearly 80 acres of their land for AIIMS to come up at Chandna in Rae Bareli. Similarly, when they said an aviation university should come up, we said yes immediately. We do not want to be equated with the BSP government in being anti-development. So we said from the beginning that any development projects that are proposed will be approved. The Centre only said that we are ready to give three AIIMS to UP. So we said by all means.

    Have you proposed to develop Dadri city along the lines of the NCR region?

    No, I have not proposed this. However, I did hold a meeting with the Development Authorities.

    What is your take on FDI in Retail?

    There is a lot of debate on FDI in Retail. Our stand is clear; we don't want farmers to suffer at any cost. Just as long as this can be assured, we have no problem with FDI in retail. I'll tell you what happens. In this neighbouring mall in Lucknow, built in partnership with Bharti -Cash n Carry—there will be milk, milk products and other agriculture produce that will have been imported directly into the country. Now, assuming that FDI in Retail is permitted, what will be criterion on which the produce of our farmers will be purchased. In a particular village, the bigger and more powerful farmers' interest may get insured in this system, but the smaller farmer will be left out and once again turn to the government for support. In case they can come up with a plan where all farmers can get a share and their produce is purchased, we will welcome FDI in retail. For instance, we are bringing a big dairy project on 100 acres of land in Lucknow.

    What is the status of the Noida and Noida extension projects? You have to give your No Objection to the project?

    It is under construction at present. We have already sent all approvals pending from our end. Now, the construction activities there need clearance from the NCR Board. There are pending High Court in this regard. From what I understand, Union minister Kamal Nath is also likely to hold a meeting regarding this. Let us see what happens there.

    There seems to be a perception that you are going easy on the corruption cases pending against the Mayawati government; her residential bungalow and the sugar mills case, among others.

    (Forcefully) No, no. That was a mistake on our part. In fact it was one officer prepared this statement. There is a pending High Court order in this regard (about divestment of sugar mills during BSP regime). The officer should have simply said the matter is sub-judice and would be decided depending upon the court orders. There is a CAG report also pending. However, he wrote the answer and the minister concerned read it out during assembly. Technically, there should have been no answer to that. It was a mistake we made.

    Whose decision was it to cut down power supply to malls and shops after 7pm?

    If you go through the order of events in the assembly on the day this happened, you will find that the suggestion was made by the Bharatiya Janata Party. There was a debate on the power crisis in the assembly, where the issue of UP's need to purchase power from outside was taken up. One of the things discussed was ways in which power usage could be curtailed. As suggestions, people said glow signs should not be lit up, lights in shops and showrooms should be shut down. Many MLAs also suggested air-conditioned shops should not be allowed to run. We did make a mistake, though. If we had simply said that showroom will be allowed to open after 12 noon or 4pm and can remain operational till 10pm, it would have been ok.

    Our day-time load is very high. Now, once the solar energy policy is in place, we have decided to install 20 to 50 mega watt plants in every district. According to our peak hour assessment out entire load is during the morning and nights. With being a sunlight-rich state, if we can target producing from 500 to 1000 mw of solar energy annually, we will be able to combat the power crisis to a large extent.

    But Solar power is very expensive.

    If you are purchasing power for peak hour consumption, you end up paying much more . So at least if you are producing your own electricity, you will not need to take a loan. You will be producing for yourself. And over a period of time it becomes economically viable, too. Also, solar is getting cheaper by the day. When the Central government first introduced solar power, it was pegged at Rs14 per unit. By the time the Gujarat government took it up, tendering was done at around Rs 12. Now, it is possible to produce solar power which costs you Rs 7 per unit. Even the solar plates are now being produced locally in Noida. So we don't even need to import them from Germany or other foreign destinations.

    You had come with a kind of hope; the Nitish Kumar kind of hope in Bihar. And they are neighbouring states. Do you fear there will be these inevitable comparisons?

    I used to say this during election campaigns and I still say it today that there is no comparison. He has his own Bihar which is progressing. The state of Uttar Pradesh is one where so many thousand crores have been spent on installing stone statues but it is still going along reasonably comfortably. Believe me, the amount of waste UP has seen is equivalent to Bihar's complete budget. UP is a big state; a challenging one. Earlier, when a Central minister has shown UP in poor light, I had told him to return our Taj Mahal to us. I told him that when the monument was introduced in places, it was only propagated as Taj Mahal, India, whereas it actually belong to the state of UP. So, I maintain that UP is a big state with many challenges. Here, every state has its own economy. If we can set this right, there will be no comparison with UP. The state remains unparalleled in its resources. We lead in agriculture, land mass, milk production and many other areas. Now, an expressway project—Yamuna expressway—that was mooted by the previous regime will be inaugurated by us. I have just been very particular that no favouritism will now be allowed. Once a developer, regardless of who he is, follows the due procedures, he can go ahead and conduct business in the state.

    What are the reasons for the delay in inaugurating the Yamuna Expressway project?

    The project has not been completed as yet. The top speed needs to be fixed. In addition, the public utilities and medical facilities need to be made available. Once everything is ready, it will be inaugurated. There are other highway projects in the pipeline as well. For instance, we will build the Lucknow-Agra four-lane highway. Once we build that, I think connectivity will give a boost to the economy as well. I read somewhere, 'double the speed, and treble the economy'. That's what I intend to do.

    One of your manifesto promises; about farm land being acquired at six times the circle rates has reportedly seen opposition from your bureaucracy. How do you propose to handle this?

    The bureaucracy has a way of making very poor suggestions most of the time. They don't care about the welfare of a poor farmer who has nothing but his land to call his own. If he is not compensated adequately for his land—most of which are small landholdings—he has no other means of livelihood to fall back on. The company that does business will be invested in it for a long time. The state government sees no hurdle in giving farmers six times the circle rates for land acquired from farmers. In most places where the land has to be acquired, circle rates are already very low. So, working out the financial for this will not be difficult. In fact, if we built roads and ensure good connectivity with such land holdings, business can be attracted there promptly. The farmer is anyway selling his land at a pittance. Factories, when they come up, will not come up in the heart of the cities; they will not happen in Hazratganj's neighbourhood (laughs). My emphasis is on ensuring good connectivity. The NDA during its regime did a lot of work on building highways. The Congress government has not been able to push these projects at all.

    You have taken several measures to push Central government projects forward. Have you seen any assurances, fund flow, for instance, coming UP's way, as a result?

    Our focus is on staying positive and doing our work. If they actually establish AIIMS in UP, I will regard it as a positive signal.

    Have you approached the centre with any demands?

    No. When I went to meet the Prime Minister, I approached him with a list of projects where the Centre's share to UP was pending. For instance, the Wazifa (stipend) for Muslim children is being funded by the state but the Centre's share is still pending, or in the case of NRHM. Similarly, in Bihar, the Centre has permitted the use of NREGS funds for flood control activities. With UP facing the flood crisis as acutely, we would also like to be allowed to use NREGS funds for flood control operations. These are the kind of demands that I went to meet the Prime Minister with. And this amounted to a total of Rs 90,000 crore, which I asked to be released. I have not asked for any additional disbursement to UP. The previous government did not send many proposals, for instance in the energy sector. My only contention is that the state should not be made to suffer now because of what the previous regime did or did not do.

    So are you getting any additional funds, in NRHM, for instance?

    Yes, I am confident we will get out share. We are sending all the proposals the way they should be and on time. To give you an example, the gunny bags should have been ordered at least six months in advance for timely delivery. In the previous regime, an order for the gunny bags was only placed in January, when the requirement for was the month of May. As a result the entire consignment was delayed.

    The Congress Party will not be in favour of allowing you to come across as very progressive ahead of the 2014 elections. So they might stop some funds?

    On what grounds will they do this? We are following all the procedures. There is the Planning Commission. They wanted AIIMS, we have given them an approval for that. The same goes for the aviation university.

    There were two industrial groups that were favoured by the previous government—The Jaypee group and Ponty Chadha. What is the SP government's stand on them?

    We can't deny a businessman already doing business in UP to close down. They will continue but there will be no monopoly. The liquor business for instance had a lot of internal politics at play which we have closely assessed. However, in the excise policy, we do not propose any rate cuts. In fact, we have hiked the prices and will, now, also impose taxes on cigarettes.

    Name some big initiative you have taken?

    We have decided to increase the capacity of the dairy plant in Lucknow. At present, it caters to only parts of Lucknow. The new plant will cover Lucknow and adjoining districts. It will enourage farmers to rear cattle and increase their earning. People in the cities will get pure milk. In power sector, we have given extension to the companies, which have signed memorandum of understanding with the previous government, for setting up power plants in UP on public private partnership model. The foundation of a 1980 mw thermal power plant proposed by the Central government in Ghatampur has been laid. The project was stuck for months during the previous Mayawati government. The 660x3 MW plant is a joint venture of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited, which is a Navratna central PSU, and the Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited. Apart from encouraging private sector to invest in power generation, we have also decided to revamp our old plants. For example, the Obra power plant is old and requires renovation.

    Further, we are building highways. The one between Agra and Lucknow will be connect the two cities via Mainpuri, Hardoi and Kannauj, which is also the shortest route. From Delhi to Agra you can take Yamuna Expressway and from there to Lucknow the new highway. Once operational, you can travel from Delhi to Lucknow in five hours.

    In education, we are renovating old school buildings in villages and constructing new ones. You will be amused to know how bureaucracy works here. When I inquired from an officer as to why separate rooms are constructed for schools instead of a building housing all the rooms, he replied that the money is sanctioned for `four walls and a roof' and for every room amount is sanctioned separately. I have decided to do away the anomaly. It will save money. We are also providing libraries in schools and medium through which students can learn about computers. Otherwise, our decision to distribute laptops will not achieve desired results. I have also asked UP board to develop a portal where students can get information related to their subjects. Congress was opposing distribution of laptops. I told Congress leaders that Central government was laying optical fibres to provide internet connectivity to villages. Will these optical fibres be used for running thrashers? (laughs). They will be utilised by students having laptops. I told them that by distributing laptops we are actually taking forward the Central scheme. In fact, we have decided to provide 3G services. I have also okayed proposal of a company to provide 4G services in Lucknow....it has already started in Kolkata.

    Budgetary provision for all these things have been made and the money for the work will be released start soon after approval of the budget by the state assembly next month.

    What about health care?

    We have also decided to improve health facilities. The vacant space in Civil hospital will be utilised. We have planned a state-of-the-art cancer hospital in Lucknow. Our people go to Delhi and Mumbai for treatment. Now best will be available in Lucknow. We had an option to construct hospital in one of the memorials constructed by previous government...but doctors suggested me that it would be better to have cancer hospital next to PGI. The synergy of two hospital will improve patient.

    What about trasport?

    I have approved BRTS for Lucknow. The buses made here were used in Delhi...why can't we use it. In Delhi BRTS failed because they ran it parallel to metro. Ideally they should have used BRTS to connect interior localities with metro. For Lucknow, metro will be costly. We also have to see that our people can afford to travel. BRTS ticket would be around Rs 4-5. Even a poor man would be able to use it. Besides widening of roads, we have also approved four flyovers for Lucknow to decongest traffic. These flyovers will come up at Aliganj, IT college crossing, Sultanpur road and Alambagh.

    What about Mayawati's park and memorials? Will you use them for any other purpose?

    We are also building a new park in Lucknow. It will be better than Lohia Park. It will have lot of greenary.

    But do we require another park in Lucknow?

    The forest department has lot of money but hardly any work to do. I have asked them to plant trees... Previous government had launched a plantation drive claiming that it would be registered in Guinness Book of World Records but it flopped. The previous government had spent money to beautify parks with stones. We have decided to beautify parks with trees without spending much. Today you can see people flocking around parks in the evening. We have opened Parag booth selling milk products at one of the parks. More will follow. You know the biggest problem with the people is that they appreciate things which are before them without going into its background. Hence, we will build better parks with least expenditure so that when people will compare our regime with that of Mayawati's, they will say that we were better. I have also asked the forest department to plant trees at vacant space in memorials built by previous government.

    Why is your government so keen about developing lion safari in Etawah?

    To promote tourism. We have Taj Mahal in Agra. India is known for Taj. Tourists come to see Taj but do not stay. They go back the same day. People of Agra suggested if tourists spend more time in UP, their income will increase and create more employment opportunities. Lion safari -- an hour drive from Agra -- will make tourists stay back after visiting Taj. You know this area had lions till 19th century before the ecology was destroyed by British. We have decided to develop area around Chambal river. The area was further destroyed when Congress was in power. In order to drive out dacoits from Chambal area, the Congress government planted thorny bushes all over the place... helicopters were used to drop seeds for 'babool' plantation. We will clear bushes and plant trees. The Chambal river is clean. In fact it's the most unpolluted river as there is no industry there. It also has a big alligator breeding centre. Colour of the water changes as you move forward. In UP, it is white, in MP black and red in Rajasthan. We can have steamers for people to enjoy nature... Similarly, Dudhwa national park does not have proper lodging facilities for tourists. We have decided to construct dormitories where students can come and reside during holidays.

    You have an attractive tourist destination in the Buddhist circuit in the eastern UP? Any plans for that?

    Yes. I was in Kushinagar during election campaign. We have very beautiful temples there... the one build by Thailand is in better than ours. People there told me that only thing required to develop the area is good roads and parking lots. We have decided to provide better connectivity and lodging facilities. Guest houses will be renovated.

    Has been there any situation where senior leaders or bureaucrats have tried to influence you by approaching your father?

    Let them do ... It's me who will decide in the end. And good suggestion are always welcome ...

    Any issue on which you as chief minister had disagreement with father?

    No ... (smiles) 'jo tha pehle tha' (there were some earlier) but nothing after becoming the chief minister. He is president of the party and takes decision for party. I am in-charge of government ... ultimately I am responsible for the actions taken by the government.

    There was nothing significant about promoting industry in the budget. How will you attract investment?

    Industrialists have met me. They are all positive about investing in UP. Things will change once we declare our policies for industry and information technology. The policies will be announced within a month.

    You have supported UPA several times. Any possibility of joining it?

    Nothing left in UPA now. No benefit even if we join. Elections will be held in next one-and-a-half year. There is no hope of UPA coming back. Recent UP assembly elections show that people have discarded Congress. In 2004 Lok Sabha polls, people had voted for Congress. The gain of Congress was SP's loss. But Congress did nothing. The result was poor show in the assembly elections.

    Will you support reforms in pension, banking etc?

    Our support is issue based. The priority is to keep BJP out. Others things are issue-based. Let them bring the proposals of reforms before us. We will think about. We are ready for debate but will do nothing which can harm our farmers and people.

    Is your support to Congress for presidential elections based on quid pro quo?

    No. Samajwadi never put conditions for support. They brought nuclear deal before the country. We knew it will yield result in 20 years. We supported it in the interest of the nation. Got nothing in return. We are ready to support anything which is good for the country. Now it's their responsibility to show whether they want good relations with us. They should give our share of Rs 90,000 crore. It is our money and not a package asked for development. It's the money to be spent on various schemes. The schemes were jointly funded by the state and the centre. State has given its share and spent money on behalf of the Centre as well. Now the Centre has to reimburse that money. Let me give you an example. They (centre) installed electricity poles in villages under Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme. But how can we give electricity when we will not have adequate coal supply to generate power. We are asking for coal linkage but they are not giving us. I have now said don't give us coal linkage but at least do something so that people can get power. The fact is that UPA is over. They need to press refresh button, get a fresh mandate and come to power.

    Do you think that UPA will be voted to power again?

    No

    What about NDA?

    'NDA kaise aa jayegi' (How will NDA win?)

    In case, both UPA and NDA do not perform well in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, will SP take a lead to form a third front?

    I can't say anything now. You have seen that our relation with Mamata Banerjee lasted for three days only. Situations keep changing and so does politics. But one thing I am sure about is that UP will decide the fate of the next government at the Centre and we will do well in UP. Congress will have to face Jagan factor in Andhra Pradesh. Their seats will reduce. Similarly, in West Bengal, there will be Mamata factor and in Tamil Nadu Jaya factor. Even in Maharashtra, Congress will face tough challenge from BJP and Shiv Sena. The party is already in bad shape in Bihar where JD (U) and BJP are strong. This leaves UP, hence it will decide as to which coalition will rule the country after 2014 elections. We will also field candidates in other states whereever we have some base.

    Have you set any target in terms of winning number of seats in UP. Netaji yesterday said 60 seats?

    I can't say right now but we will perform better. SP's role in national politics will increase.

    Your best performance was in 2004 when you 42 seats in UP but then UPA had enough numbers and Congress overlooked you. Do you expect to perform better than 2004 in 2014?

    We can. Right now I cannot predict anything with certainty. Democracy has matured in India. Earlier people use to say that coalition politics will not last. But you see now that it has worked well.

    But prime minister Manmohan Singh and some others at the Centre have blamed coalition politics as major hurdle for implementing economic reforms?

    They should not hold coalition for that. Did they have any common minimum programme in UPA2? None. There is no problem in coalition if it works as per a common minimum programme.

    You said that UPA's time is over, so when, as per you, elections will take place?

    Before 2014. But even if they happen in 2014, it will be good for us because it will provide us enough time to fulfil all our poll promises and be better placed for elections.

    Right now, often you have to stand on the same side with BSP to support UPA. Isn't it uncomfortable?

    Nah ...

    Will Dimple contest from Firozabad in 2014?

    No. She will continue with Kannauj. She was elected unopposed from that place.

    Who decided to field Dimple in Kannauj bypoll - you, Netaji or was it to settle score for her loss in Firozabad earlier?

    Party's parliamentary board decided to field her from Kannauj. Also, no regular candidate was available because only one-and-half year is left for next election.

    Was there any specific strategy behind not contesting ongoing urban local bodies elections, particularly when SP did well in urban areas in recent assembly elections?

    It was hard work of party workers which helped us in winning recent assembly election. Many of them wanted to contest local bodies poll. Pick and choose at this moment could have led to internal bickering. Plus, if given party symbol to contest, there would have been demands from candidates to 'take care' of DM, SSP etc to help in winning election. Negative answer would have led to resentment. And, in case of violence or otherwise, media and opposition would have pounced on us. The government would have been blamed for anything going wrong. I am happy that we decided not to contest elections. However, we allowed party workers to contest if they want to. Workers are happy and we have been saved from negative publicity. Let me explain you through an example. A worker has sent me the message that he is working for five candidates in different wards. He has said that results will be positive. Now, you can gauge from the enthusiasm of this worker that he is not only working for the unofficial party candidates but is also preparing ground for his candidature next time. I see a leader is taking shape in this worker.

    Do you think UP's negative image in terms of law and order as well as corruption has been a deterrent for investors?

    Things are not as bad as they are being projected. Bill Gates came recently. Others are also coming.

    In that case what is keeping these investors from investing in UP?

    I said things are not as bad as they are being projected but the same time they are not very good either. Hence, there is a scope of improvement. We are trying to improve situation to win investors' confidence.

    Any relaxation in VAT, excise etc?

    Nothing as of now. We need revenue for welfare schemes. In fact, we are planning more tax on alcohol, cigarettes, gutkha, pan masala to increase revenue.

    Vat relaxation on petrol?

    "Petrol aur liquor par mat karwaiye" (Pls don't ask for relaxation on petrol and liquor). How will the state be run otherwise?

    You had put restriction on use of party flags on vehicles. Any impact?

    Yes. Earlier, it was being misused. Even illegal taxi wallahs were using it for advantage. Now workers are using flags but large-scale misuse has been restricted.

    Muslim reservation is going to be a big issue in next Lok Sabha election. The UPA government's decision of minority quota has been stayed by the court. Now, how will you fulfil the poll promise of Muslim quota?

    The matter is pending before the Supreme Court. We will wait for court's verdict and plan things accordingly. I am sure we will find a way out. You see, we have always worked for Muslims with clear intention. Several minority welfare schemes have been launched.

    Like you, BSP has also demanded Constitutional amendment for muslim quota. Will you join hands with BSP to mount pressure on UPA government to amend Constitution?

    Can't say anything right now

    What about farm loan waiver upto Rs 50,000 as you promised in manifesto?

    We have made budgetary provision for it. It will be done after rainy season is over.

    But farmers need right now because they can apply for fresh loan in current kharif season only when they get relief from loan taken earlier?

    We are working out modalities. Loan of those who have paid at least one or two instalments but could not pay the rest because of crisis will get the benefit. We have to ensure that the scheme benefits needy.

    You don't seem to be excited about completing 100 days in power?

    I believe that rather than analysing things in days, we should keep working in right direction. I am sure you (media) will give us a good publicity on your own as and when we will deliver results.

    During assembly election campaign, when media asked whether you will be chief minister, if SP wins, you always said Netaji will be the chief minister. So when the job was given, was it unexpected?

    I would say that 'it was difficult'. But I am ready to do any job given by the party. Also, let me share one thing, which will make things clear. After becoming chief minister, a friend from Bangalore told me that he saw me in TV interview before elections repeatedly saying that Netaji would be the chief minister but later he realised that I had actually become 'neta' when he saw me taking oath as the chief minister.
    The final call is always mine, Akhilesh Yadav says in interview with TOI - The Times of India
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Yadav junior speaking big!

    What does it mean in real politics and in the daily lives of the people of UP?
     
  4. lcatejas

    lcatejas Regular Member

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    Ali baba chalis chor....:mad:
     
  5. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Baap-Beta-Bhai-Bahu party!
     

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