‘I’m A BJP Supporter But Don’t Want Yogi To Be CM Again’

Rahul Jaiswal, 30, from Deoria in Uttar Pradesh, says he will not vote for BJP this time as Chief Minister Yogi promotes negativity among polity

I am an ardent supporter of Bharatiya Janata Party. If you follow Uttar Pradesh politics closely, my surname is enough for you to presume my political leaning. The entire Jaiswal community in the state forms the core BJP support base and my ideology is no different from the community. For as long as I can recall, I have been voting in favour of the BJP –Assembly elections, Lok Sabha elections, or local body elections.

But this time, I am not rooting for the party. Well, I am not voting for Yogi ji specifically. He’s the Chief Ministerial face of the BJP and if the party wins, he will be the in-charge of Uttar Pradesh again. I don’t support his brand of politics and way of governance.

Yogi is very short-sighted in his approach. His vision is myopic and devoid of any fruitful outcome. If you look at his major decisions in the past, you can see he has failed to provide a single positive result to the masses.

All those things which he is recognised with – bulldozer, police raj, and fake encounters – are related with destruction, negativity and profiling. Even his laws for the safety of cows couldn’t yield a positive outcome; the stray cattle have turned into a menace now.

I want to make it clear that I want all the things that Yogi ji proclaims to achieve. I want the land mafia raj to end. I want my state to be crime-free. I want cows to be protected. But, the way these targets have been sought to achieve by the chief minister has brought about more devastation than progress.

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He brought the protection law for cows and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for this. But I want to know where are sheds for abandoned cows! I want to know why this state still has one of the highest crime rates in the country! After killing criminals, why are police now targeting innocent people? We saw what happened in Gorakhpur when police killed an innocent businessman and labeled him a criminal.

The state has become a laughing stock nationally. All those grievances which we had against other parties in the UP are now laid at the doors of the BJP. It has acquired all the shortcomings of other parties and is no different from them any longer. Probably, Yogi ji thinks that his voter base doesn’t see or hear things and is blinded by the love for the party.

I don’t know whether the situation in Uttar Pradesh will improve if Samajwadi Party comes to power. Currently, I am looking at the present and the scenario looks bleak. I think UP needs change for now. No political party or leader should feel complacent. Political leaders must know that the ultimate power rests in the hands of us the people.

As told to Md Tausif Alam

‘Women Safety Hasn’t Improved, But Worsened Under Yogi’

Raveena Nijjar, a 26-year-old employee with a software group in Noida (Uttar Pradesh), says it is high timewomen safety became an electoral issue

I have been catcalled, molested and harassed at public places, not once but multiple times. This is not just my story but the story of every woman out there in India. But this story becomes more horrible for women when it comes to Uttar Pradesh.

I am a 26-year-old girl, who works in a software company in Noida and consider myself strong and independent. I think I am brave and project myself as one. Despite this outward self-assurance, there’s deep down a constant fear of being harmed — molested, kidnapped, raped — when I am alone out there on the road.

I have seen BJP electoral campaign which speaks about women feeling safe in the state under Yogi Adityanath rule. I beg to differ. Instead of improving, the situation has only deteriorated in the past few years. There’s been continuous rise of crime against women and the intensity of the crime has been increasing each passing day.

You open the newspaper and you see horrible stories of crime against women splashed all over — raped for protesting against sexual advances, burnt alive for dowry, acid poured for refusing proposal… the list goes on. If you further focus at the place of the news, you’ll see the state of Uttar Pradesh where a majority of such incidents are happening.

On top of this, the saddest part is the attitude of political parties towards our safety. It’s bizarre and outrageous to make such claims that the incumbent government in Uttar Pradesh has addressed the issue of women safety in the state.

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Though the recent claim by the current government that UP women can go out at night without fear is not even close to the truth, this can be a point that women should not let go. If a political leader has talked about it, women should come together, rally around this and press for it in this election in Uttar Pradesh. We don’t need such lip service; we need real safety.

Our political leaders are far from reality on the ground. I believe that it’s time for women in Uttar Pradesh to hold political parties accountable and demand safety for themselves. We should make it an election issue now. High time.

This country is talking about increasing the participation of women in the workforce. But this participation will only increase when the government addresses the core issue of women safety. I work at night shifts and the shift ends at an odd hour, when the entire road is deserted. It’s every day’s fear for me and other girls to reach home safely.

I have spent some time in other states like Karnataka (in Bengaluru) and Maharashtra (in Mumbai). As a woman, I have felt safer travelling around there. But, when you land in Uttar Pradesh (in Noida), you suddenly feel many pair of eyes chasing you. However, the situation is better in cities compared to the hinterland of the state, where the horror stories of crime and injustices against women can send shivers down your spine.

As told to Md. Tausif Alam

‘You May Differ With His Ideology, But Yogi Has Made UP Safer’

Dr Sangeeta Sharma, 65, Principal of Pandit Sujan Singh Degree College in Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), says law & order has remarkably improved in the Yogi regime

The western Uttar Pradesh, the area where I have been living, is often popularly referred to as the Badlands of the state. There is a saying in several households here: when the Sun goes down, you lie down. This means women and even men are advised not to travel or step outside during late hours as criminals rule the streets after sunset.

However, things have drastically changed in the last five years since Yogi Adityanath took reins of the state as Chief Minister.

Earlier, even daylight crimes chain snatching, petty robberies, eve teasing, molestation in colleges and universities were order of the day. It is not difficult to imagine if this was the situation in urban areas, how things would be in rural pockets. But, as I said, that was before Yogi took charge.

His government apparently placed law and order as its top priority as the state administration, including police, started rebuilding the trust of people with positive steps that were visible, right after he took over. One of the first such step was forming anti-Romeo surveillance squads.

I know that these squad drew widespread criticism from several quarters, but the critics have little idea about the plight of school- and college-going girls. Miscreants on bikes had made commuting to educational institutions a miserable experience. Being a degree college principal, I know what hardships my students were facing. Today, eve teasing and molestations have become extremely rare.

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It is heartening to see the police being sensitive to crime against women in Uttar Pradesh. Even the complaints made on a micro-blogging site like Twitter are taken seriously by the UP Police social media cell and promptly pursued. This is a dramatic change, an unprecedented one, and it could not have been possible unless the orders came right from the top.

Sharma says anti-Romeo squads (right) were a necessity in Uttar Pradesh

We had never imagined that such a safe environment would be brought in Meerut and nearby areas in our lifetime. The presence of police has increased, which gives us more confidence. Now we can go out for a walk after dinner fearlessly as police patrol vehicles are scaling the streets throughout the night.

There is another local example to prove my point. There used to a ‘Chor Bazaar’ called Soti Ganj in Meerut and everyone in the district administration knew that stolen cars and bikes were brought in there every day, dismantled and then the spare parts sold in black market.

The market had been in business for as long as we can recall. Yet, little action was ever taken to stem the rot. It was a blot on our city as even people as far as from Delhi-Noida mentioned it as stolen vehicle haven. Mercifully, under the Yogi rule, the infamous trade has been kicked out of the city.

One can have ideological differences with the party that Yogi Adityanath belongs to but his good work has to be appreciated. Of course, there is a long way to go to strengthen the law and order in the state but the sense of safety and security which has been brought about under his rule is praiseworthy. Yogi is taking the state into the right direction.

I hope that others states also follow the same route to make India a safe country for every citizen, and women in particular.

As Told To Deepti Sharma