Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah chose Yogi Adityanath, the hindutwa hardliner, for the Chief Minister post of Uttar Pradesh, when BJP stormed back to power in the state after a gap of 15 years.
The move has stirred up apprehensions among those who believe in communal amity and law and order. It’s because Yogi Adityanath has been infamously popular for all the wrong reasons. The priest of Gorakhpur temple has been under the guise of his outfit Hindu Yuva Vahini, sowing the seeds of communal poison and reaping the hate sentiments in north India for the past two decades. The experience of bestowing political power into the hands of a religious priest is unprecedented in the history of independent India.
By making Yogi Adityanath as the CM of Uttar Pradesh, a prominent state in India with a population of 22 crore, the Modi-Amit Shah duo might be calculating on furthering hate politics, the capital investment of Hindutwa ideology. With the nation gearing up for the general elections in 2019, it might be deemed that there is no better person than Yogi to sustain the waves of hardcore Hindutwa sentiments rampant at present and to implement the agenda of divisive politics. Isn’t that the reason why a person who lacks experience in the field of governance was chosen for the top post in Lucknow, superseding the 325 eligible people? Besides his extreme hatred for minorities, the proficiency so far in spitting inflammatory rhetoric intended to ignite communal sentiments in the minds of common man, if given an opportunity, alone is sufficient to disqualify him for a highly responsible democratic post.
The BJP, through appointing someone with several serious criminal charges for inciting communal riots, at the Chief Minister post, is challenging the constitution itself. Yogi was arrested in 2007 for organizing a communal riot in Gorakhpur. He was in the forefront of launching the ‘Love Jihad’ campaign citing the severe threats to the majority community due to the Muslim youth abducting and marrying Hindu women. His incendiary statement that those who refuse to perform the Surya Namaskar should leave for Pakistan quoted a huge controversy. Yogi likened Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to terrorist Hafiz Saeed. Subjecting about 1800 Christians to religious conversion in the name of ‘Ghar Vapasi’ in 2005 in Etawah led to conflicts in the region.
By posting persons like Yogi Adityanath at the topmost position of governance, the message conveyed by the Sangh Parivar leadership to the citizens, is obvious; that the extreme Hindutwa face would be unveiled in the coming days. Anyone could comprehend the warning from the BJP’s aggressive moves, that there would be no place for democratic values and peaceful co-existence in the Indian governance. Keshav Prasad Maurya, the BJP state president and Dinesh Sharma, Mayor of Lucknow, was appointed the Deputy Chief Ministers for making right the caste equation lost through the the appointment of Yogi Adityanath, a Rajput.
Maurya belongs to a backward caste and Sharma is a Brahmin. However, those who displayed their ‘sincerity’ in unveiling the real face of the party by not providing candidature to any Muslims in the polls, inducting Mohsin Raza , former cricketer and a representative of the Shia sect, into the cabinet, couldn’t be seen as a consequence of their rethinking. The gravity of the arrogance shown by Modi and Shah towards the democratic system by posting Yogi as the CM of Uttar Pradesh will not lessened by such meagre ‘adjustments’. Yogi who overtly keep stressing for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, could only be expected to initiate feverish moves in that direction and add to the anxiety of the people. The fact that the ‘secular parties’ who lost their morale, not even contemplating on reclaiming their position other than witnessing the latest developments as mere spectators, add to the severity of the predicament.