Gorakhpur: Construction of the Ram temple may not be on the BJP's manifesto for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls but Yogi Adityanath makes it clear that a saffron government in Lucknow will pave the way for it.
The fifth-term Lok Sabha member is the mascot of the party's Hindutva-wrapped agenda of development as the BJP makes a final push in its bid to capture power in the state in the last two phases of elections to be held in 89 seats. The party won only 11 of these seats in 2012.
In one public meeting after another, he comes hard on the Samajwadi Party's "Muslim appeasement" and promises that a BJP government will protect their (Hindus') interests.
"The SP government's development is all about development of 'kabristan'. If a BJP government comes to power, it will not happen that they (Muslims) will be allowed to have a DJ show in their festival but not you during Durga Puja. The interests of the majority community have been betrayed.
"If a SP government comes back to power, then money meant for your development will go into developing kabristan. A BJP government will pave the way for the Ram temple construction," Adityanath (45) says in a string of public meetings covering different Assembly constituencies.
He tells the PTI that his agenda is of development for all but it is against the SP and BSP politics of appeasement of one community. He declined to elaborate, saying what he has to say he has said in his meetings.
In Berhampur, he lists a number of development works of the Narendra Modi government, including its decision to connect Gorakhpur to big cities like Lucknow, Delhi and Mumbai through highways, and announcement of an AIIMS here, as he exhorts the crowd of mostly Dalits and extremely backward castes to vote for the BJP.
He reminds Dalits, seen as a BSP support base, that "the biggest criminal" Mukhtar Ansari, who is currently behind bars in a murder case, has joined Mayawati's outfit and only a BJP government can teach him a lesson.
If Ansari is "sabse bada goonda", then SP's Muslim face Azam Khan, who does not wield much influence in the eastern UP, is the "most corrupt".
At a meeting in Gorakhpur (rural) constituency, he hits out at the sitting MLA Vijay Bahadur Yadav, who had won on the BJP ticket last time but has defected to the SP and is fighting on its symbol, for his alleged betrayal by selling out to Khan's money. Adityanath, who heads a large number of religious and charitable bodies functioning under the name of Guru Gorakhnath, is criss-crossing the region, addressing anywhere between six to eight meetings. The BJP is hopeful that his Hindutva pitch will help it bring together an amalgamation of upper castes and sections of backward castes and Dalits.
The BJP's strike rate in the region, especially in Gorakhpur and neighbouring districts, will also have a bearing on the future stake of its Hindutva face.
He was said to be miffed with the party's top brass after he was denied a final say in the selection of candidates in a number of seats, prompting some of his loyalists in Hindu Yuva Vahini to go out against the party. Aditynath is the Hindu organisation's founder. He has sacked them and consistently rejected reports of his unhappiness with the party.
Out of 89 seats going to the polls in the last two phases, SP had won 50, BSP 14 and Congress 7 in 2012 polls....