Yogi Adityanath is the People’s Choice, Says Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister
11:38 GMT 11.08.2021 (Updated: 11:42 GMT 10.12.2022)
© AP Photo / Manish SwarupThe new Chief Minister of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath greets media as he arrives at the Parliament in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 21, 2017
© AP Photo / Manish Swarup
The opposition parties in India's state of Uttar Pradesh have accused the BJP-led government and its chief Yogi Adityanath of not paying sugarcane farmers, failing to provide jobs, and dividing voters by bringing in laws to prevent so-called 'Love Jihad' and population growth.
Forecasting that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will comfortably win the forthcoming state elections, Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Suresh Rana rejected the allegations levelled against his government by the opposition. While talking to Sputnik he said that Yogi Adityanath's government has worked to improve the state's financial condition. He also spoke about issues such as payment for sugarcane farmers, how the state government handled the COVID-19 crisis, and other issues.
Sputnik: Opposition parties have been lambasting the government for not paying sugarcane farmers. How would you like to counter them?
Suresh Rana: Uttar Pradesh's government, after coming to power in the state in 2017, has focused on payment for the sugarcane farmers. From 2017 until now, our government has paid $21 billion (INR1.4 trillion) to the sugarcane farmers whereas the Samajwadi Party government paid only $14 billion (INR950 billion) while they were in power between 2012 and 2017. A payment of $1.8 billion (INR120 billion) which was still owed by the Samajwadi Party has also been made by the Yogi Adityanath government. For this present year we have also made more than 75 percent of the payments to the farmers.
The federal and state governments have been working together to ensure timely payment of the farmers.
Apart from this, the bio-fuel policy introduced by Prime Minister Modi has also helped sugarcane farmers to receive payments promptly. Uttar Pradesh is the first state where more than 55 sugar mills are producing ethanol from B Heavy Molasses and has become the largest producer of ethanol in the four-and-a-half years the BJP government has been in power.
The fact that sugarcane farmers in the state are prospering can be seen by how much more land is being cultivated. In 2017, the cultivation area of sugarcane was 2 million hectares - that has now increased to 2.8 million hectares. This proves that farmers are happy with the policies of the state government which is motivating them to grow more sugarcane.
Sputnik: Sugar mills have also been reeling under the crisis. What is the government doing to revive them?
Suresh Rana: To revive the sugar mills and ensure that sugarcane farmers get an adequate price for their produce, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the import duty on sugar to 100 percent. During the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the import duty was only 15 percent and all the stakeholders were demanding an increase in import duty.
As well as this, for the first time since independence we fixed the minimum selling price of sugar in the country to $39 (INR2,900) per quintal [100kg] which has been further increased to $41 (INR3,100) per quintal. This proved extremely beneficial to the farmers as the minimum selling price of sugar in the international market was only around $29 (INR2,200) per quintal.
During the government of former state chiefs, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, around 30 sugar mills closed and 21 were sold. Our government has not only revived the sugar mills but also enhanced their capacity. More than six new sugar mills have been established and the capacity of over 18 sugar mills has been increased by the BJP government.
In addition, our government has also started providing licences to the crushers - where chemical-free and physically extracted sugar from liquid jaggery is produced - which shut down because of the misguided policies of previous governments. In only two years our government has issued new licences to 200 crushers in the state and we are preparing to provide 400 more.
This has not only helped the sugarcane farmers to reach an alternative market but also the youth of villages in getting jobs. With the investment of $135 million (INR9 billion) to start new crushers, we have been able to provide employment to around 55,000 people in rural areas.
Sputnik: What will be the party's strategy for the forthcoming state elections?
Suresh Rana: The BJP will fight the election on the government's record within the state. Voters know what has been achieved by Prime Minister Modi in the country and chief Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh state, so they will vote for us. We will fight under the slogan "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas" (Collective Efforts, Inclusive Development). The results of bi-elections and recently held rural body polls have proved that the BJP will return to power in the state - and with a full majority.
Sputnik: How will you respond to accusations from the Samajwadi Party that the Yogi government is polarising the voters on communal lines by introducing laws on 'Love Jihad' and population control?
Suresh Rana: They had the same thought about the Triple Talaq (instant divorce) law but it attracted massive support from women in the Muslim community. The BJP wants every citizen - irrespective of caste, creed, or religion - to be able to enjoy access to justice and the 'Love Jihad' law is for that only. No girl from any community should be misled or threatened for religious conversion.
12 July 2021, 12:09 GMT
The population control law has been proposed so that people of the country can use the available resources in a better way. It is very important to control the population so that the overall development of the country can be carried out as planned.
Sputnik: There was a rumour that Yogi Adityanath might be replaced as state chief. Is the party willing to change the state chief after the polls?
Suresh Rana: Recently, I had a meeting with rural leaders where more than 30 percent of whom were representatives of Muslim communities, and they said that they want to work like Yogi and Modi which proves that the development model of both the leaders is accepted across the country. Yogi Adityanath is motivated by Prime Minister Modi and people across the political parties in the country want to become like them. He is the people’s choice in Uttar Pradesh.