More than two weeks into his job, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is yet to undertake a bureaucratic reshuffle that normally follows a change of guard.
The 44-year-old Adityanath, who is also the head of the influential Nath sect, has tasked select Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) cadre and his aides to prepare a list of “honest, workaholic” officers, sources said.
But, he is doing some ground work on his own as well.
From Monday evening, he will sit through departmental presentations in which officer will detail their plans to implement the ruling party’s poll promises.
The exercise that could last two weeks would not only give Adityanath a chance to assess officers but was also aimed at boosting the party’s prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, sources said.
Uttar Pradesh sends the highest – 80 – members to the Lok Sabha and played a big role in the BJP’s sweep of the 2014 national elections.
The education department is first off the block.
Deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma who is also the education minister, technical education minister Ashutosh Tandon and minister of state for education Sandeep Singh are expected to attend Monday evening’s presentation. Along with “competence and workaholic nature”, the government is stressing on “integrity” in picking the officers. The state’s vigilance department has been asked to clear the list of officers who will be working with the CM.
The previous Akhilesh Yadav government was accused of corruption and also failing on the law and order front.
“You would have seen that PM Modi has already asked the MPs not to bother the new government with making transfer requests,” a BJP leader, with an RSS background, said. “The idea is to emulate the example of the Modi government and that is why lot of emphasis is being made on appointing the right set of officers.”
The RSS is the ideological parent of the BJP, which is often accused of following the Hindutva agenda of its mentor.
Adityanath has been working with the officers he inherited from the Akhilesh government. Only one new officer, Rigzin Samphel, has been appointed to the chief minister’s office.
The process of screening was on track, with the RSS and CM aides chipping in, sources said.
For 15 years, officers either grew close to the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan samaj Party as the BJP was mostly in oblivion, a party source said.
“So, instead of looking for ideologically committed bureaucrats, the attempt is to identify officers with the right kind of values; the ones who could be trusted to ensure good governance and timely delivery of poll promises,” the source said.
The chief minister made his intentions clear when he said officers not prepared to work for 18 to 20 hours daily were free to leave.
“We haven’t come here for fun. Only those who can work with us for 18 to 20 hours should stay,” he had said at an event a few days after taking charge.