Nearly a month into his tenure, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s popularity has soared with his swoop on illegal abattoirs and “anti-Romeo” drives capturing the public imagination, a survey has claimed.
The decisions, that critics said were components of a larger saffron project, enjoy a high degree of popularity among the people, suggested the survey that was conducted among 2,000 respondents spread across 20 districts of the state.
Adityanath’s drive against illegal slaughterhouses, anti-Romeo squads, action against VIP culture and ban on paan masala and tobacco in government offices came up as the most popular decisions in the survey conducted by Gaon Connection, a rural media platform.
While the crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses got 38.1 per cent approval, the formation of the anti-Romeo squads was hailed by around 25.4 per cent of the respondents, it said in a statement.
Interestingly, among women, the anti-Romeo drive emerged as the most popular decision with around 37 per cent approving it, despite instances of alleged police excesses and gender activists highlighting its adverse impact on autonomy and the right to make choices.
On the other hand, the action against slaughterhouses have had a debilitating impact on the state’s meat industry. It has also reportedly emboldened cow vigilantes and fringe outfits active in this field.
Overall, decisions taken by the Adityanath-led BJP government have 62 per cent approval ratings while 71 per cent citizens feel the firebrand Hindu leader, seen as a highly polarising figure in the past by his critics, is working in the “right direction”, the survey said.
“The districts where the survey was carried out ranged from Lalitpur in the underdeveloped Bundelkhand region in UP’s southwest to Sonbhadra in the remote southeast, from Meerut in the west to Siddharthnagar in the east,” Gaon Connection said.
Adityanath’s stunning elevation as chief minister, following BJP’s landslide victory where it won 325 seats in the 403-member state assembly, was seen as a move to stamp Hindu supremacy and, in this context, many saw the long shadow of his past in his first few decisions.