Halfway into his term, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (pictured) has started preparing for the electoral battle in 2022. Miffed at the slow pace of implementation of flagship schemes, he has directed government departments to embrace "fiscal discipline". The government is planning to put a cap on the expenses the departments can incur at the fag end of a financial year. Under the new scheme of things, these departments would be allowed to spend only 30 per cent and 15 per cent of their annual Budgets in the last quarter and the last month of each fiscal year. This is expected to induce the department mandarins to spend the allocated budgets throughout the year rather than rush to meet the numbers only when the deadline nears.
More than meets the eye
That Madhya Pradesh Forest Minister Umang Singhar and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh don't see eye to eye is well known. The two have been hurling allegations at each other with unfailing regularity. Political watchers in the state say this is more than just an ego clash between two prominent leaders. Singhar, the tribal face of the Congress party, belongs to Dhar district in western MP, which has a thriving liquor business. Dhar is close to the Gujarat border and Gujarat is a dry state. Some say the attack on Singh is a fallout of the support the forest minister allegedly extended to some beneficiaries of the liquor trade. The other theory is that the appointment of the Pradesh Congress Committee president is due and Singhar is positioning himself as a potential candidate. Hence the public opposition to Singh.
Farmers and youth leaders
Last week, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary at its Delhi unit had to suffer a somewhat embarrassing moment when he revealed his designation to a Union minister who is also in charge of polls in the state. When the person said that he was the head of the Kisan Morcha or farmers’ wing in the district, the minister is learnt to have asked him what he grew as a farmer. The Delhi BJP functionary defended his “kisan” representative status by claiming that his father was a farmer. He and others were equally nervous about the minister asking his address because it was Chandni Chowk, a crowded shopping area that does not have any agricultural activity. The minister then told a story. In a communication programme in Rajasthan, the senior leadership was surprised when a young man at a BJP youth wing leader’s house was introduced as the leader’s son. Those gathered agreed it was the son who should have been in the youth wing instead of the father.