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Sunday 26 March 2017
News updated at 2:06 AM IST

Adityanath rise most deplorable

March 21, 2017
With the selection of Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has sent out the clear message that it will project its hard Hindutva face in the state. It was thought that Yogi Adityanath had the least chance to become the chief minister among those in the reckoning for the position. That was because of the impression that the BJP would not like to make the most controversial among its leaders in UP its helmsman in the state. But cold calculations about the party’s way forward in the state have prevailed over considerations about experience, acceptability etc. It is not important whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi was initially reluctant to agree to Adityanath’s chief ministership or whether the initiative came from the RSS or BJP president Amit Shah. The fact is that a person who symbolises the most communal and majoritarian sentiments in the party now heads the country’s most populous and politically important state.

Adityanath has made the most hostile and objectionable statements against the Muslims in recent times. He has been divisive, polarising and provocative. Whenever he made such controversial statements, the party leadership’s claim was that the views were personal and were not the party’s official views. They were dismissed often as the views of a fringe section. Adityanath’s elevation to chief ministership shows that the fringe is actually the mainstream and all claims of a distinction between the two are false. The party has also legitimised all the outlandish and dangerous views of the Hindutva bigots about which it was sometimes defensive. It has perhaps realised that it need not any longer be defensive about even the most aggressive positions on issues like secularism, nationalism and minority rights, after the overwhelming majority it received in the elections. Adityanath’s promise that the government would work without discrimination against any section may not sound convincing in view of his background. Whatever is said now, the image is the message.

After the choice of Adityanath, ideas like inclusive development and slogans like sabka saath, sabka vikas, reiterated often by Prime Minister Modi, may not sound genuine and sincere. Their credibility could verily be questioned. The vote for the BJP in UP was claimed to be a vote for development. But Adityanath has no development credentials to become the state’s chief minister. He fits well into the BJP’s political scheme, given the overtly communal and divisive campaign made by the party and its leaders in the state. The BJP may have actually started the campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with his appointment. It is bound to be too divisive and polarising.

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