When the people of Uttar Pradesh nixed traditional voting patterns in the state and elected Mayawati as the Chief Minister earlier this year, we hoped — and frankly expected — that the BSP leader would now finally, with three ‘trial chief ministerships’ under her belt, settle down to bring good governance and progress to UP. With the kind of mandate she received, Mayawati had no need any more to go along the usual path of ‘political reactionism’ — that is wiping everything off the table that was there during her predecessor and arch-rival Mulayam Singh Yadav’s chief ministership. The tit-for-tat-for-tit-for-tat routine had not only become tiresome, but it also ensured that no leader — as well as the army of his or her followers in the form of politicians or bureaucrats — would invest any real energy in the development of UP itself. Mayawati didn’t need to go on a vengeance-is-mine trail. And yet, it seems she has.
Before this week, the BSP government had already cancelled 6,504 and 3,964 police recruitments in two instalments after an inquiry committee reportedly detected irregularities in the selection process. This week, another 7,400 recruits joined the blacklist. Turning out ‘Mulayam’s policemen’ is just one in the litany of actions taken by the ‘Reformist’ (‘Counter-Reformist’?) Mayawati. Her blocking of Reliance Retail in UP is not only political in nature but with an ‘SP-friendly’ Ambani in the equation, it also smacks of the personal.
And just to emphasise the fact that names closely associated with the previous regime will find themselves luckless, Lucknow has asked Amitabh Bachchan to explain what the basis for his election slogan on television — UP me hai dum, jurm hai yahan kam — was. This is curious, considering that one would have thought that if there was an explanation to be sought, it should have been from the Uttar Pradesh Development Council and not one individual endorser. With Mayawati’s latest actions, even deja vu seems like old hat. But one can’t help but fervently hope that she will get tired of playing ‘It’s my turn now!’ and focus on the job she was elected to do.