IAS Pranjal Yadav: The Man Between Modi and EC War

Pranjal Yadav nixed BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi’s rally in Beniyabagh of Varanasi.

The differences between Bhartiya Janata Party and the Election Commission had started long before District Magistrate of Varanasi, Pranjal Yadav, nixed its prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi’s rally in Beniyabagh of Varanasi. But the even gave invitation to a war-cry. On Thursday, Varanasi witnessed a big protest by the senior BJP leaders and some odd 15,000 supporters.

The BJP has described the 34-year-old officer as “delinquent” and “biased” and has demanded his immediate transfer. In one of the four letters sent to EC on Wednesday, BJP’s senior leader Arun Jaitley said Yadav is “clearly guilty of dereliction of duty”. “He (Yadav) has indulged in conduct unbecoming of an officer,” Jaitley said in his letter. EC, however, has refused to take any action against the officer.

Also, as pointed out by BJP, DM Yadav, who is also returning officer in this election, is a cousin of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son-in-law Ram Gopal Yadav. They even mentioned a “Yadav” lobby, a direct reference to the officer’s caste. However, SP has denied the charges on Yadav and the party saying that the officer refused carrying out of Modi’s rally because of security reasons.

In the temple town of Varanasi, Yadav is known as an IIT graduate who has championed development of the town through several initiatives including better roads, better traffic management and removal of encroachments in the congested city.

According to a report in Babus of India, born on February 7, 1980, Yadav hails from UP’s Shahjahanpur. He completed his B.Tech in mechanical engineering from IIT-Roorkey before getting into IAS in 2006. He began his career as an assistant collector in Allahabad district in June 2007 and then moved as a joint collector in Sidharth Nagar sub-division next year. He was a collector in Maharajganj and Azamgarh districts too.

According to a report in The Indian Express, Yadav has earned the image of a non-nonsense officer committed to a development agenda ever since he took charge in February 2013. He has undertaken eviction of encroachers despite opposition, sent a water works engineer to police custody for not getting a project expedited, and ticked off several other officers for a slack approach.

He has worked “relentlessly” to rid Varanasi of its perpetual traffic jams, says this report in The Economic Times. According to the report, “Yadav has in a short span of time acquired legions of admirers in Varanasi thanks to the ingenious manner in which he took on encroachments.” He reportedly razed buildings from midnight to 3 am.

Yadav has maintained that there are intelligence reports warning of security concerns over holding the meeting at the venue the BJP is insisting upon. Till the latest report, these security warning came from Gujarat Police itself as claimed by the administration.

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