Last month, I had to visit the State of my birth and education, UP. Very little seemed to have changed in the quality of civic life ever since the last trip about two years ago. Same old power cut, dusty and pothole roads, chaotic traffic, growing unemployment, whiling away of time aimlessly on street corners, petty politics, civil insecurity albeit suspected to grow and a sense of despair on the faces of the people. However, in the meantime the voters of the state had over thrown the Mayawati regime and a bright, brimming, smartly dressed and enthusiastic young man had become the Chief Minister.
I have been a passive spectator of the decline of the economic might of the State of Uttar Pradesh through the decades. Having been born, educated and worked (for about a decade in bits and pieces), I have always felt regretful of the degeneration of the most populous state of India, and its consequential effects of pulling down the growth of India and migration of large number of youth to other states in the quest of ‘MAKING A LIVING’.

When the elections were round the corner, I had attempted some contribution albeit vicarious by writing a series of articles in this newspaper before the elections and had felt elated with the change of guards at the seat of power in Lucknow. The youthfulness and candour of Akhilesh Yadav had inspired many to believe that the state is in for ushering of a new era, where enthusiasm and dynamism will help transform to begin with the sentiments and gradually the ethos, eventually paving the way for the resurgence of the state. Even though, more than 100 days of his leadership had passed, one could not decipher even an iota of difference in the sense of despair that continues to be writ large on the faces of the people.

It may be premature to suggest that the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav is not cracking. In fact, it is essential to give him some more time to spread the beams of brightness emerging from the dark clouds of a beleaguered state. However, it is important to note that the derailed train of Uttar Pradesh from the tracks of economic prosperity can be brought back on rails only by surcharging the environment with enthusiasm. This is facilitated by the leader speaking out his mind loud and clear and seeking to ensure the participation of the people, in particular young and impatient. It involves creating sounds of a dawn of a new day and slow and steady emergence of brightness of the sun rays of hope. And unfortunately this task cannot be delegated and has to be spearheaded by the leadership.

In a vibrant democracy like India where decisions are necessarily influenced by the social and political issues, greater participation of a large mass can alone cast the firmament for the creation of a momentum, which eventually energises the dampened spirits of the people. Whereas, empty promises do bring about a backlash, lack of hope and enthusiasm can be a serious block in building the economy of the state of UP-bigger than the combined size of UK, Germany and France.

The Chief Minister and his team of politicians and bureaucrats may be assiduously busy drawing up the plans for the reconstruction of state, sourcing resources and mobilising legislative strengths to energise the economy of the state; but the time seems to be running out and patience of the people getting exhausted, and once that happens notwithstanding the kind and quality of the plan, execution and its fruition will become a myth.

Dear Chief Minister, it is understood from the people (who say they know you intimately) that you have a DREAM for Uttar Pradesh and also that you want to BUILD YOUR FUTURE IN POLITICS. The future in politics of every politician is inextricably interwoven with the happiness and prosperity of the electorate.  Further, it is important to note here that Indian politics is undergoing metamorphosis. Social engineering is giving way to development economics of livelihood, sustenance and prosperity. Re-election of the same political parties consecutively for two/three terms in some of the states is a validation of the trend.

The history suggests that slow and steady do not find a place of pride in its annals. It’s the challenger of adversity, creator of revolution and father of evolution who is encrypted in golden letters. You owe it to the people of UP to keep up their hope of happiness and prosperity, which took birth when you were sworn in to the office of Chief Minister. Perception still persists but the depth and intensity appears to be petering out. Choice is yours whether you want to capitalise and build the state and incidentally your own future or be consigned to the ranks of politics. Many of the senior and enlightened politicians also desired but presided over the chair rather unsuccessfully and could not re-engineer the development of the economy of the state. It’s the chance of youth, do not let it slip out.  Deprivation of the people fervently begets you.

(The author is a former Chairman, LIC & SEBI)