LUCKNOW: Yogi Adityanath has said no to a proposal by his staff to buy him two brand new Mercedes SUVs.
The Estate Department put the idea – likely to cost the cash-strapped state Rs 3.5 crore -- to the chief minister on Tuesday. He shot it down in a trice. He said he is happy to use the car Akhilesh Yadav had. That too is a Merc, which is now likely to go down in UP’s history as the only legacy of Akhilesh Yadav that Yogi Adityanath thinks is worth keeping.
Although his own hand-me-down Merc did cost quite a packet, the austere chief minister of UP has been advising the state’s ministers to forswear Fortuners for humble Innovas instead.
BSP chief Mayawati, when she was chief minister, drove around in Land Cruisers and her successor Akhilesh upgraded to the aforesaid Mercedes worth Rs 1.5 crore.
In fact, the young Yadav bought two Mercs, one for himself and one for his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, which Dad still drives.
Sources said officers did whisper to the new chief minister that the Samajwadi Party patriarch might be asked to return his state-provided Mercedes, but Adityanath shushed them. "If he returns it on his own, then it’s ok. Otherwise don't ask him to return the car," he is reported to have said.
Swank cars are not new to UP. A fleet of luxury cars and chartered planes crisscrossed the state during Mayawati’s time, and then Akhilesh Yadav thought nothing of buying party heavyweight Azam Khan a top-end Skoda worth Rs 37 lakh.
But then Adityanath is a yogi. Austerity is his fancy. When he moved into 5 kalidas Marg in Lucknow, he had all ACs removed except the ones in his living room and office, where they hum for the benefit of his visitors.