It's been five months since Akhilesh Yadav took office. He has twin tasks before him: To deliver on the promise of his sweeping Assembly polls win and to ensure the Samajwadi Party doesn't lose momentum before the next Lok Sabha polls. His party may well be in a position to determine political fortunes at the Centre if Akhilesh delivers a bulk of the state's 80 MPs. To a question on his father Mulayam Singh Yadav becoming PM, the 39-year-old Chief Minister tells Principal Correspondent Ashish Misra that "anything is possible".
Q. What is it like working with your father's colleagues?
A. It is a matter of pride for me. Sometimes I get good suggestions from the senior leaders but eventually I have to take the call.
Q. Mulayam Singh Yadav recently reprimanded ministers for their functioning. Is he still angry?
A. Netaji wasn't angry. He said every minister should start at least one good project for farmers and the poor.
Q. When will your promises of unemployment dole as well as distribution of laptops and tablets become a reality?
A. Government preparations are complete. Unemployment dole will be distributed after September 8. We will begin kanya vidya dhan (cash reward for educating girl children) after September 20, and start distributing laptops after November 15.
Q. The Centre has given the state a special package of Rs 4,500 crore. What do you think of the UPA approach towards your government?
A. Kendra sarkar ka toh ab samay khatam ho chuka hai (The Central Government has run out of time). Everyone is now preparing for General Elections. The amount which was provided to the state should not be seen as package. It is the state's due.
Q. Mulayam Singh Yadav has set a target of winning 60 seats in the forthcoming elections. What does your party plan to do for this?
A. The public has given us a majority (in the Assembly), so expectations have increased. Decisions taken by our government benefit farmers and the poor. Free ambulances are available now. We have ended the system of hospital admission fee. Free treatment of serious and chronic diseases will be available at government hospitals. Roads are being built with public-private partnerships.
Q. But your government's performance on law and order is weak. There has been communal violence, harassment of Dalits.
A. Communal violence occurred in some areas but officials have been told to deal strictly with such incidents. The government will not allow negligence.
Q. What about the many U-turns that you take? Who are your advisers?
A. My advisers are in the CM's Office. I take advice from party workers too. The only decision that has been reversed was the decision to permit MLAs to buy cars from their MLA fund.
Q. What are your plans to attract Indian and foreign investors?
A. The last regime didn't provide as much infrastructure as it could have. Our government is firming up a new industrial policy which will be industry friendly. Many prominent industrialists and businessmen have come to me. They feel the atmosphere has changed.
Q. The state's industrial hub, Noida, is reaching a saturation point. Is your government developing an alternative industrial area?
A. Work for the expressway from Agra to Lucknow is now on at full speed. New industrial hubs will automatically develop along the way.
Q. What about jobs for the youth?
A. I was keen to do engineering but there were no private colleges in the state. So I went to Karnataka. After that, Netaji established many private professional colleges in the state. Now our government is going to work on the IT sector in Lucknow. This will check the flow of youngsters going to other states.
Q. Uttar Pradesh is undergoing a severe power crisis. Won't this affect the state's development?
A. The power crisis is the gift of the bsp government. During his last tenure, Netaji established two power plants but the BSP didn't do any work in this field. It merely signed mous. The companies that signed the mous don't have any coal. I sought permission to import coal in the Assembly. Our plan is to double the capacity of generating power in the state in the next five years.
Q. You blame the BSP government for signing the mous but your government hasn't scrapped them.
A. The Centre has stopped the mou scheme to establish independent power plants because of several inherent weaknesses. We carried on with the mous because if we change this, then we will have to change the whole process. That will take at least 18 months.
Q. Will Mulayam Singh Yadav become prime minister? Will you ask the Left to support you?
A. Everything is possible in politics. We have good relations with the Left and also with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Politics depends on circumstances and sometimes decisions are taken according to issues.
India, May 20 -- Two days after a 53-year-old professor was arrested and charged for begging on suburban trains, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) said that Sandeep Desai should have sought their permission before starting to collect money, which he uses for setting up education institutes. Desai, however, claimed that he had already given an application to the Railway administration in 2010."Before I started making rounds in the local trains for the charity, I had given a written application