There were not many takers when new Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath warned that he was a workaholic and only those who can work 18-20 hours a day can keep pace with him.
Less than a month hence, the state's elite bureaucracy has learnt the lesson the hard way that this time round, they can even be asked to report in the dead of night, literally. Soon after assuming charge, Adityanath had given a stern message to officials that those who were not prepared to work 18-20 hours a day were free to make way.
"The state government will not tolerate any laxity in implementation of its schemes. Officers willing to work 18-20 hours a day can continue with the government or else, they are free to leave," he had declared on his home turf of Gorakhpur.
"I am a workaholic and the bureaucrats will have to deliver too. Those ready to work hard should continue and the non-performers should leave," he had said clearly. But many had taken it as a rhetoric as the state bureaucracy was not used to such a style of functioning.
Adityanath, who took over the reins of the state on March 19, got cracking in no time and went on a reviewing spree of the working of various key departments. He has been taking up four to six departments a day during meetings which often start around 6 pm.
Officials, on the condition of anonymity, say the idea is that after the routine works of the day, the meetings would start in the evening so that the work is not disturbed. These meetings, at times, continue well past midnight. The one on the working of the Education department earlier this week went on till 12.30 am.
The unusual timings have also kept state Information department officials on their toes. They are sending press releases till 2 am, leaving media persons wondering as to whether to file the story at night or keep it for the morning. A senior official was called twice while he was getting into his official vehicle at the portico of the Secretariat Annexe as the chief minister wanted certain clarifications.
Though some in the bureaucracy feel that things will soon settle down and the functioning of the government will return to its "normal" speed, others are a little sceptical as they have heard of Adityanath's routine of waking up at 3 am and not returning to bed before 11 pm.