I am first a sanyasi' then a CM, says Yogi Adityanath

| | Lucknow
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I am first a sanyasi' then a CM, says Yogi Adityanath

Friday, 27 March 2020 | Biswajeet Banerjee | Lucknow

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the government’s first priority was to protect the poor and the daily wage earners as the lockdown would financially hit them very badly because “as a sanyasi, I believe that serving humanity is serving God”.
“I am a chief minister but before that I am a yogi and a sanyasi. My background is connected with Hindu mutt which is dedicated to manav sewa.  Nar Sewa, Narayan Sewa’ is the mantra of Hindu philosophy. I have seen the dedication of mandirs and mutts towards serving humanity, particularly the poor and the downtrodden,” the chief minister said in a freewheeling interview to this reporter in the state capital.
“Therefore, when we talked about lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, my first thought went towards these daily wage earners  and I wondered how they would make their both ends meet if restrictions were imposed. I have seen how mutts make arrangements to provide free food to the poor without looking at one’s  caste, creed and colour. So, I told the officials to first chalk out plans for the poor and then go for lockdown,” Yogi said, tapping softly the armrest of the sofa he was sitting on at his 5, Kalidas Marg official residence in Lucknow.
The chief minister said that at that juncture he had two options; one to seek help from the Centre and second, arrange funds for the poor. “We opted for the second option. I asked the officials to make all arrangements so that no one slept empty stomach,” he said, elaborating on the ‘Nar Sewa Narayan Sewa’ project his government has launched.
The Uttar Pradesh government has launched a scheme under which daily wage labourers are given Rs 1,000. The money was transferred to the accounts of 20 lakh daily wage earners through DBT.
“Our government is giving a maintenance allowance of Rs1,000 to street vendors, rickshaw-pullers, e-rickshaw drivers, construction workers and porters who have lost employment because of the lockdown. People have been asked to stay indoors. Railway stations and airports have been shut down because of coronavirus. Buses are off the road. This means rickshaw-pullers, e-rickshaw operators and tempo drivers have no work. It is the responsibility of the state to provide relief to these people and this money (maintenance allowance) will come handy for them,” Yogi said, adding that the government support would continue till lockdown.
The chief minister said that the government was providing free ration to poor people having below poverty line (BPL) ration cards, destitute, old age pension holders, construction workers and daily wage workers who were not entitled for Rs 1,000 benefit.
“They will get 20 kg of wheat and 15 kg of rice. District magistrates have been issued directives in this regard and sufficient funds have been sent to all districts,” he said.
In 2017, during floods, I had adopted a model, which proved successful, where food packets were distributed among the flood ravaged people. I asked why can’t we do the same now also and give to the people food packets having rice, flour, oil and other basic things. Thus, we made a plan to distribute food to over 1.60 crore poor families who have antyodaya card or are very poor,” he said.
Yogi takes a pause, looks around the long hall having sofa sets along the wall which has big pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind. The side table has a memento presented by members of minority community while at one corner there is a fresco of Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar presented by Ambedkar Maha Sabha.
“Look, the world is in the grip of fear. The UP government had started making arrangements since January. Isolation wards were identified in each district and within a day or two we will have over 10,000 isolation beds across the state. The bureaucracy has been asked to stand up to the challenge,” he said, adding that people were listening to him and this was the time officials too worked as directed.
Why do people listen to you, Is it because you are a chief minister or a sanyasi?
Smile returns on the face of the chief minister. “This is the ‘sanskar’ of Bharat where ‘sanyasi’ holds an important place. But when people see the aacharan (conduct) of ‘sanyasi’ and his dedication for the masses, their affection for him increases,” Yogi said.

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