Yogi Adityanath influence has grown at an astounding pace among voters across India and Indian politics. In last four years, Yogi successfully transformed his image from a hard-liner Hindu leader to a development oriented Hindu leader. Do you know, Yogi was always a pro-development leader, but his perception created by media was of a Hindu leader. In just four years, he fast tracked growth of Uttar Pradesh to newer heights. Few things in UP are assumed impossible but Yogi made everything believable whether Infrastructure, Law& order, or Ease of doing business or increase in per Capita income. Here is the thing, developed states are lagging in getting investments but Yogi’s Uttar Pradesh is topping in the charts for investments.
So, what is so special about the Priest of Gorakhnath Peeth & Chief Minister of largest state of India. Unlike most of his peers, Yogi Adityanath is a self-made leader. Everyone can learn from his journey of meteoric rise in Indian politics. His leadership, methodology, innovation, ways to handle crisis is a case study which will gradually find place in B-School. Yogi proved himself as more than capable leader who in the saffron robes ready to take both conventional & non-conventional approach for the growth of the state.
There is no surprise that many including me believes that he is the potential successor of PM Modi in BJP. Leadership is an art best learned by studying great leaders. Let’s see what make Yogi a special leader in Indian politics
- Ideology- Its often seen in politics, leaders frequently dumping their ideology to secure deals for powerful position but Yogi Adityanath is one leader who never compromised on the ideology. In a country where politician afraid to speak about the religion, he minces no words on speaking about it. He is a proud Hindu. Unlike others who participate in other religion activities just to gain votes, Yogi never practiced these behaviors of appeasement. He practices his religion & as head of the state understands his responsibility of providing safety, security & good life to every citizen irrespective of religion or caste. Leaving ideology can be a tactical move for many but for Yogi, ideology it’s his identity which cannot be compromised.
- Visionary- A leader must have a vision which should include aspirations of the people. On the very first day in his office, he set out vision for his government to provide an able governance to the largest state of the country. His focus on Infrastructure, Law & Order & jobs for the people of the state. His idea to identify one product one district was not only innovative but also very important in bringing back the lost glory of these districts, preserving those skills & knowledge.
- Breaking Stereotype- Yogi Adityanath is one of the politicians who is always ready to break stereotypes. While there are many examples, let me share few with you.
- He became the first chief Minister to visit Noida after eight years.
- Few of you may be aware that Yogi Adityanath allowed distribution of Akhilesh Yadav image printed school bags to the students. Yogi Adityanath weighed the financial implications and decided not to waste the “Akhilesh Yadav bags”. As per him, its simple, State money has been spent on manufacturing of these bags & student must not suffer because of the political rivalry. Unlike his predecessors, He ensured all schemes to be launched as “Mukhya Mantri Yojana” or “Uttar Pradesh Yojana” and completely avoiding individual name scheme. Below is the link if you want to know in greater detail.
- In one of the other landmark decision breaking stereotypes, UP government cut the excise duty on Liquor. In last so many years, excise duty is only increased in India but again Yogi thinks differently. This kind of action are un-heard of in Indian politics.
- Yogi Adityanath is the first Chief Minister to visit Ayodhya in 15 years.
Saffron leaders are often labelled as superstitious but Yogi Adityanath proved everyone wrong by breaking stereotypes. He went places where his predecessors avoided because of superstitions.
- Setting Expectations, Observing & acting– Great leaders set the expectations on the very first day of the office. Yogi did the same. On the very first day of the office, he laid out priorities of his government. He was happy to discuss but no comprise when it comes to his vision of governance. He given time for everyone to fall in line & went on hunting for anti-social elements after the expiry date of the allotted time. It’s not limited only to law & order, all departments be bureaucracy, schools, every department are now working more efficiently.
- Business & Result Oriented- Yogi action & decisions are always result oriented. As I told you, in last four years, State of Uttar Pradesh completed many Infrastructure projects. His government is on a mission to create a web of good roads in the state. Most importantly, all the projects are well ahead of time. In other areas like law & order, his government always achieved the milestone set at the beginning.
- Accountability- Vision, Expectations setting, targets all becomes meaningless if accountability is not set for Individuals & departments. People hate politicians because they don’t set the right accountability matrix but Yogi Adityanath is an exceptional leader when it’s come to set accountability. Recently, UP government forced retirement of three IPS who were not fit for service.
- Innovative- Since the days of PV Narsimharao & Atal Vihari Vajpayee, if one thing lacked big time in Indian politicians then it’s the art of Innovations. Yogi championed innovations across verticals whether it is for the enforcement of law & order or ensuring school runs effectively in the state. His decision to prosecute those who damaged public properties in riots may have received criticism from the court but hit the right chord with public across religions & caste. In protest & riots, it’s the public who suffers the most. Be it loss of property, access to hospitals, schools. One of my friend’s vehicle was damaged during the protest & he has nothing to do with the agitation. This brings me to my next point- In protest’s its common man who suffers the brunt from protester. Have you ever heard a protester burning his own vehicle? I am sure you haven’t. Protest are fundamental rights of the people & they should do it but burning public & government properties is not acceptable. UP government methodology of shaming & collecting the damage amount from these anti-social elements is not only innovative but also put a stern message to all that protest are allowed & welcomed but protester don’t have rights to burn other’s properties.
- Integration of Technology- Yogi Adityanath spent time judiciously in improving the IT infrastructure of the state. Since he succeeded as Chief Minister, He implemented technology in many areas from tendering to grievance redressal. Government machinery have become very efficient under his leadership & its visible when you visit any government office. Some people may also not like the intervention of technology because they cannot take bribes freely or use free electricity. The process is simple you pay & use but there are serious implications in case of theft. Now offices & schools are getting integrated with Biometrics & VC facilities ensuring attendance of teachers & government officials. He himself uses VC extensively to inspect offices & School.
- Finance– Yogi runs welfare schemes like a socialist government. It is evident from the fact that maximum central government schemes like Ujawala Yojana or Pradhan Mantri Awas yojana are getting implemented successfully in Uttar Pradesh but when it comes to finance, he runs it like a corporate. You will not be surprised to know that when Yogi government came to power, UP government finances were in bad shape. They don’t have money even to pay to employees, but Yogi government stood up the challenge & with process improvement, disciplined fiscal management, they were able to run all projects be it infrastructure or social welfare. Many will be shocked to know that when every government has introduced new taxes in the name of Corona crisis, UP government didn’t implement any new taxes and on the contrary lowered excise duty on liquor.
- Corruption free governance- Four years is a long time in Indian politics but opposition still searching for one reason to label corruption charges against Yogi government. This is a remarkable achievement for any Chief Minister in India. One may can call him hardliner, communal but even his enemy swear by his honesty. It’s one of greatest compliment to have in Indian political system.
- Self-respect & Hard work- It’s no secret that migrant population who worked as laborer’s never got their due respect in other states. Yogi stood by his people. He created special committee to monitor situation of people who are working in other states. His government was the first one ready to bear expenses of bringing people back to the hometown. In one of the incidents, UP government opened office in the midnight to pay for fuel for the bus to bring back students from Rajasthan. He works almost 16 to 18 hours a day. Because of this people are viewing him as their messiah who helped them to gain the lost self-respect. UP government was first to transfer money directly into the account of poor people. People rally behind him because they know that their leader will stand by them in good or bad times.
- Strong Crisis Management– Great leaders blossoms like flowers in crisis. Yogi outperforms all his peers by miles in crisis management. Corona crisis is one its kind for Leaders & many fail to handle it but Yogi shines through this crisis like a star in the dusky sky. I still remember those early discussion when all eyes were on UP. Everyone was concerned on the possible spread of Covid-19 in UP. But with terrific crisis management, he managed to have lowest number of cases in the largest state of the country. Be it bringing students back home from Kota hostels or arranging buses for Lacs of people in just few hours who assembled at the UP-Delhi border because of rumors or one can say misinformation by Delhi Government. In Yogi’s Uttar Pradesh, UP police delivered medicines & groceries. It’s true that UP never had resources to stand against this pandemic but Yogi’s T11 used all the resources available to them optimally, be it police or health workers.
- Crisis is an investment Opportunity– Losers cry, winners plan & champion chart their own path. Almost everyone was crying for help from the Centre but even during this crisis, Yogi government never drop the ball. They keep their focus on investments & took advantage of change in global geo-politics. Yogi government met 100+ companies who were sounding to shift manufacturing from China to other country. It’s interesting to know here that few companies have already started business operations in the new plants including the German Shoemaker in Agra. This speaks a lot about ease of doing business in state of Uttar Pradesh. Just for the record, UP is currently at number 2 in ease of doing business. The struggle of Bollywood technicians from UP during Covid crisis provided him the opportunity to create film city in UP. The land for the same is already allotted.
- Implementing the Learnings- Good leaders learn but great leaders implement the learnings. Covid-19 crisis has taught many lessons. One of the hard-learned lesson for the state of Uttar Pradesh is its poor health infrastructure cannot stand any chance against pandemics. Learning from it, Yogi government is planning to construct Medical college in each of the 75 districts. This is first time that any government is planning to have Medical College in each district. Seven of them have already got approval. Yogi speed of implementing projects is phenomenal & there is no doubt in the minds of any that all projects will be completed before time.
Great leaders always are great communicator & Yogi Adityanath is no exception. He has to deal with complex social structure, demographics but Yogi effectively communicates with the people.
He is much more than a firebrand Hindu leader. Secularism means helping, respecting, or working for the welfare of the people irrespective of cast, creed, or religion & Yogi Adityanath is seamlessly doing it from last four years.
Last but most important, politicians always try to take populist steps like loan waiver, reservation to grow popularity & win elections, but Yogi is proving everyone wrong. He is taking steps which may not be popular but are for the welfare of the people. And people are loving him for this reason.
Yogi Adityanath has everything a leader needs to have to succeed at the highest level. He is a statesman, a visionary, a crisis manager, & there shouldn’t be any doubt that if he gets opportunity, he will successfully lead India to the newer heights.