Lucknow: Where from here for Uttar Pradesh, asked many after controversial leader and Hindutva’s stringent face Yogi Adityanath was made the chief minister of India’s largest state and its mainstage of national politics and movements – Uttar Pradesh.
Yogi Adityanath was not projected as the chief ministerial face during the election campaign in Uttar Pradesh as that department was taken care of solely by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Perhaps, the BJP was aware that a plan like that would have polarised votes in the state to the party’s detriment.
Neither was there any buzz around Yogi Adiyanath’s elevation ever since the results were declared on March 13. Or even Friday night when the names of Union minister of state Manj Sinha, Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma, state BJP chief Keshav Maurya and some others were doing the rounds.
Yogi Adiyanath was sprung on the ‘who is chief minister?’ narrative when news broke Saturday morning that he had flown to New Delhi to meet Narendra Modi and then returned to Lucknow hours before BJP MLAs met to choose the chief minister.
While BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said the choice was democratic – a unanimous decision taken by the state’s MLAs – but it looks Adityanath was picked by the top office.
Political analysts said the choice of Yogi Adityanath points at the fact that the BJP is playing its Hindu agenda to the gallery and is not willing to take its eye off its core voters. Yogi Adityanath, a five-time Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur, is an upper caste Rajput.
It would also be pertinent to mention here that the BJP’s vote share in the recently-concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections has come down slightly to nearly 40 per cent from 2014’s 42.3 per cent.
However, the vote in Uttar Pradesh had risen above caste, creed and religious divisions on the ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his development mantra.
In an interview, Adityanath had said during the election campaign that ‘Hindu’ and ‘India’ were two faces of the same coin but that it was ‘definitely possible to be an Indian being a non-Hindu’.
He had also said there should be a way to ‘honour public sentiment and build the Ram Temple’.
The BJP has of course armed Adityanath with two deputy chief ministers – Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma – and the trio make up for the three dominant faces of Hindus in the state. Adityanath is a Rajput, Maurya a scheduled caste and Sharma a Brahmin.
Adityanath, the saffron-robe-yielding face of a stringent form of Hindutva, will now have to take that development agenda forward. On the face of polarisation and obvious caste equations, one can only hope ‘development’ doesn’t get lost.
Or is it a message that development can be separated from the Hindu agenda and each exist in spite and despite the other?...