Uttar Pradesh results and selection of Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister are indicators of Bhartiya Janta Party’s (BJP) gearing up for 2019 general elections. Yogi Adityanath, who is the most controversial saffron leader of Uttar Pradesh, emerged as a most suitable representative of divisive fascist politics.
To serve the larger communal goal of polarisation on aggressive-attacking hindutva, for the first time BJP, after having such a brute majority, made Chief Minister a person who directly does not come from direct lineage of Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh. That is a very important signal being sent out by the BJP that Hindutava is the only binding force.
One important reading is that Uttar Pradesh has been a battleground of Mandal (reservation of OBC) and Kamandal (ram mandir-hindutva forces) from the time of late 80s. In the course of time, Kamandal forces were defeated by Mandal forces in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Lot of OBC leaders emerged and formed political parties and got hold of state power. And, with the rise of Mandal politics, BJP was also forced to project leaders from OBC communities, be it Uma Bharti or Kalyan Singh. There was huge unrest in dominant caste leadership of not getting the main roles. With the re-emergence of Kamandal politics, leaders from dominant caste are occupying the leadership role. After Gujrat, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Haryana, Maharastra, Assam, Goa, and Uttarakhand, now in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has given the Chief Minister post to someone who belongs to dominant caste. In BJP we can see the re-assertion of dominant hindu caste vote banks and their leaders. This is also bringing a reverse shift in caste structures. The dominant castes are becoming more powerful and they are in fact reclaiming leadership roles.
The elevation of Yogi as Chief minister can be seen as natural culmination of hindutva agenda, which started its aggressive parliamentary batting after demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, in Uttar Pradesh. In 2017, BJP is able to get the full benefit of the seeds it sowed in 1992. Same thing happened in 2014 general elections, when BJP and their allies got 73 seats from total of 80 MP seats. In that way, it has successfully consolidated its Hindu vote bank and pushed muslims on fringes of parliamentary process in the state. For the first time, Muslims lost their political bargaining power in the state, where their number is huge. This is a very dangerous and disturbing sign for democracy.
If we see in historical perspective of the rise and growth of BJP in Uttar Pradesh and from there to national politics, Yogi Adityanath emerges as a logical face of this communal fascism. He is a leader who openly talks about Hindu Rashtra and openly challenges the secular fabric of the country. The BJP has to rely on his leadership as they want to consolidate hindu votes for 2019 election. What was implicit so far has become explicit. So, now new diction has emerged. When BJP says development, it means development of hindutva agenda. Keeping jingoist nationalism at limelight is the core value of this brigade. That’s the real synonym which has been imposed on us in the name of Yogi.
Yogi Adityanath has never been in very close or good book of Mr. Modi or Amit Shah. Even when the campaign started in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adiyanath was not projected as the chief minister candidate for obvious reasons. BJP experimented with different caste groups in Uttar Pradesh and worked closely with many OBC s and Dalit sub-castes. It has successfully made inroads into non-yadav dalit sub-castes like Balmikis, Pasi, Khatik, Paswan, RajBhar, and Nishad etc. Along with Dalit sub-castes, BJP polarised Other Backward Castes (OBC) other than yadavs on Hindu platform. As Yogi Adityanath is from dominant Hindu caste –Thakur or Rajput, so pushing his name in the beginning would have disrupted BJP's game plan to polarise dalits and OBCs. BJP, like in other states, any how wanted to play with leadership options. Due to this vacuum, aggressive Hindu leaders from other caste groups also got full chance to exhibit their leadership qualities. Be it BJP UP state president Keshav Maurya or Union minister Manoj Sinha or Swami Prasad Maurya who was injected from BSP, Apna Dal leader and central minister Anupriya Patel and likewise many others.
In the beginning, only six leaders were projected in the BJP's hoardings in UP - PM Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister Uma Bharti, Kalraj Mishra and MP Keshub Maurya. Though the party did not project Yogi’ s face in the initial stage, he was shown extensively in polarising purvanchal (eastern belt of Uttar Pradesh) after pressure started mounting from Yogi's supporters and his Hindu Yuva Vahini. After the first phase, he was deployed in a big way and his aggressive communal campaigning style was fully utilized by the BJP. While travelling through Uttar Pradesh, I was able to feel the impact of his communally charged speeches not only in Muslim dominated areas as Moradabad and Amroha but also in Lucknow, Allahabad etc.
In the span of two decades, Yogi Adityanath, who is a five-time Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur, has established himself as the foremost firebrand Hindutva leader, with his reach to Nepal as well. He has proved himself to be above all laws and notion of communal harmony. He openly asks for killing of Muslims, raping Muslim women and creates a fanatic clout around himself. His most recent anti-Muslim statement was an endorsment of the United States President Donald Trump’s immigration ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The BJP and the RSS are looking in Yogi a leader who will expand their base. We should not forget that Gorakhpur and Purvanchal have been the experiment ground of Hindutava forces for more than two decades and it flourished in tenure of Congress in the Centre and Samajwadi party's rule in the State. Young communal brigade of Yogi's Hindu Yuva Vahini used to raise the slogans like- If you have to live in eastern Uttar Pradesh then you have to chant Yogi-Yogi..(Purvanchal me rehna he to Yogi Yogi kehna he). During this election campaign, the slogan was "at centre its Modi and at state its Yogi" (desh me modi aur Pradesh me Yogi). And now Uttar Pradesh in under Yogi Raj and the fanatic crowd all over is shouting- "If you want to live in Uttar Pradesh then you have to chant Yogi-Yogi…" That’s the new diction of polity emerging in Uttar Pradesh under the saffron regime of Yogi + BJP.
Needles to say…feel shiver in the spine..oh my Indian Democracy!!
Bhasha Singh is a journalist and writer. The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Madhyamam.