Monday, 24 January, 2022
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How Yogi’s ‘Super DMs’ and ‘Team 11’ are a bigger problem than caste of SPs and DMs

Uttar Pradesh has a law and order problem. Not just caste, blame Yogi Adityanath’s new posts that were created because of his own shortcomings.

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The way Yogi Adityanath government has handled the gruesome case involving a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras has embarrassed India. However, this is not the only incident that has been mishandled by the Yogi government. The Supreme Court had to step in and give directives in the 2017 Unnao rape case. Hardly any day passes without news of heinous crimes against women in UP. Besides, the state has also been in news for the alleged murder of Brahmins. The situation is almost like a gang-war. All these incidents show that law and order in Uttar Pradesh has been jeopardised, but there has hardly been any attempt to analyse the causes behind it.

Just looking into the caste of the district magistrates and high-ranking police officers won’t explain UP’s problems today. We must also look into the damage Yogi Adityanath’s new systems — put in place due to his lack of administrative experience in governance and his unwillingness to share power with even his own cabinet ministers — is doing.

There are positions in Uttar Pradesh that are now far superior to DMs and SPs, and encroaching on the power of ministers, I call them ‘super DMs’.


Also read: How UP is political kingmaker but caste is king, and why Hathras case matters


Thakur-isation of administration 

Whenever the talk of deterioration of law and order arises in Uttar Pradesh, attempts are made to understand it through the analysis of the castes of District Magistrates (DM) and Superintendents of Police (SP). Recently, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh revealed that the DMs and SPs of 39 districts of UP belonged to the chief minister’s caste — Thakurs.

This study of the caste background of high officers relies on the assumption that the prejudice of such officers towards certain communities is the prime reason for bad law and order situation. Prejudice is an important element, and in the case of Hathras, the bias of the DM and SP were visible first hand, but it cannot be taken as the sole criterion to understand the situation in UP. One should also look into the administrative functioning of the current BJP government, on the basis of which Yogi Adityanath is trying to govern.


Also read: Who are Thakurs of UP and why are they powerful? Answers are key to understanding Hathras


Team 11 — Centralisation of power

The administrative functioning of Yogi Adityanath reveals that he is trying to run his government by centralising power. One reason behind this is the lack of experienced leaders in the BJP, and another is the party’s reluctance to empower others. The BJP had to induct many leaders from opposition parties in order to win the assembly election, and electoral compulsions have forced Yogi Adityanath to include these leaders in his cabinet. But he has ensured that important ministries are not given to them. For example, leaders such as Swami Prasad Maurya and Dara Singh Chauhan who joined the BJP from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have been given less significant ministries. Adityanath has kept crucial departments, including the home department, with himself. It is ironic that the state that is geographically and demographically larger than many European countries does not have a full-time home minister.

Adityanath’s reluctance to share power with his cabinet ministers is also visible in his frequent meetings with secretaries. His meetings with his cabinet colleagues are fewer in number. Since Adityanath had no administrative experience in governance before being sworn in as chief minister, his dependence on secretaries to run the government is always high. He has constituted a team of bureaucrats, called Team 11, on the lines of American presidential style of government. The officers of this team are mostly upper caste and have been in news since the outbreak of the coronavirus.


Also read: Congress listened, Yogi doesn’t — Why Hathras isn’t the same as Delhi 2012 gangrape case


Super DMs — Secretary in-charge

Adityanath’s dependence on the bureaucracy means that Uttar Pradesh is not really being run by ministers anymore. Take the position of ‘secretary in-charge’ — under which senior secretaries of different departments have been given responsibility for districts. These days, it seems that the DMs and SPs are rarely running the districts, it is the secretary in-charge who is responsible. The work of the DM and SP has been virtually reduced to collecting data for Union and state government schemes.

Before the secretary in-charge post, there was the ‘minister in-charge’ post — under which a minister was allotted a district, and they would meet with the district officers once a month and give necessary guidelines. Although this system is still in place, its significance has declined due to the new arrangement. The secretary in-charge directly reports to the chief minister’s core team and hence has emerged as the ‘Super DM’ of the district. If the law and order situation of Uttar Pradesh is deteriorating, look at how much Adityanath’s new systems are contributing to it.

The author is a PhD scholar at Royal Holloway, University of London. Views are personal.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Before Yogi came to power the state was run by experienced administrators who’s administrative experience and skills were inherited from father and mentor. The key positions in the government were occupied by people of merit with no caste angle ensuring that law and order in Uttar Pradesh was never jeopardized. The distribution of power was with the respectables like Azam Khan, and Atik Ahmed to name a few. The supreme court was all praises for the government. The word corruption was never even heard of.
    DESPITE ALL THIS THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE RESOUNDINLY VOTED IN THE BPJ IN STATE AND AGAIN IN CENTRE, WERE THEY STUPID ?
    IS YOGI ADMINISTRATION CORRUPT MANKING MONY FOR SELF AND FAMILY?
    WITHOUT ANSWERING THIS QUESTION THE REST OF THE ANALYSIS MEANS NOTHING.

  2. You will not expect better from BJP party, which was build on caste & religion as a back bone. Not much from a person like Yogi. He should have persued yoga and leave ruling to a family person. Very gloom days are awaiting for Dalits and weaker sections in the state. Thanks for very insightful thoughts.

  3. You are casteist, not Yogi, because you see everything through caste when it suits your agenda. SHAME ON RESSTITUTE.

  4. Your generalization of the Law and order situation is far removed from reality and is based on desktop study. Iam a resident of UP and I can tell you the goonadism and mafia raj in UP is at an all time low.Ask any ordinary citizen and he shall share the thought process….women and children can roam freely at night and there has been effective crime control.Btw Iam no Modi bhakt…just an ordinary Middle class citizen

  5. The author lives in London , but commenting about UP administration as if he is part of the system , typical Leftist and supported by Leftist media like The Print.

  6. In 1995, its estimated that 500k to 1M Rwandans were killed in the Rwandan Genocide between Hutsi and Tutsi castes. In 2004, just 10 years later, all references to caste profiling in Government employments and others were officially expunged. People involved in the mass extermination of killings were sent to re-education camps to remove any ill feelings of the others. They were taught that they were Rwandans first.

  7. Shri Arvind Kumarji, you do not live in Bharat and then try to give your analysis about what is happening in UP sitting in the UK!! Ask most people in UP, and they will tell you that the funda Raj perpetrated earlier by SP and the BSP is over and it is actually safe to go out. Yes this was a heinous crime against a woman, but this has more to do with the backward attitudes which a lot of people have in UP and Bihar. Massive social change is required and that cannot be led by a govt. The people of the state have to change. And hopefully when supposedly educated people like you start by stopping the caste narrative and actually writing more uplifting and meaningful stuff, things will change.

  8. sitting in London the author has a jaundiced view typical of authors from West brainwashed by Left leaning thiughts inimical to a popular right wing Govt. Crimes in UP are no bigger than other states except that there is a Lutyens plan to publicise only law and order in UP. The crime of similar nature in Rajasthan Kerala Chattosgarh were deliberately under reported. Did the Princely Congress scions go and meet the victims in Rajasthan and Chattisgarh? The Print can become popular if u truly become unbiased. Loyalty to the Congress darbar will make your otherwise good magazine go the ndtv way

  9. Print really needs to get a few people who are wise enough for writing articles. Most of the articles in the Print are extraordinarily juvenile. The article by Arvind Kumar is one such. Looks like it is time for me to stop the bother of flipping through the Print.

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