Yogi Adityanath is the right choice. Here’s why

It was a mandate for majoritarianism. And 2019 won’t be any different

ashishm

Ashish Mehta | March 29, 2017 | New Delhi


#Lok Sabha elections 2019   #Bharatiya Janata Party   #elections   #BJP   #Uttar Pradesh chief minister   #poll 2017   #UP   #Yogi Adityanath  
Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath


Did the choice of Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister surprise you? He faces numerous criminal cases for his alleged role in communal violence, but he says these are political cases, and that he is not a professional criminal. He is known for communal speeches, but he claims he speaks out only against anti-nationals and not the Muslim community. Yet, platitudes apart, neither his supporters nor his critics would deny that he is majoritarian  –  and a hardliner one at that.
 

Choosing such a person over a couple of no-nonsense, experienced leaders makes a loud statement. More so, when the state involved is Uttar Pradesh, the biggest one and politically the most crucial. What do we make of this loud statement?
 
Firstly, contrary to opinion-makers’ opinion, Adityanath should be considered a fitting choice because the mandate is for majoritarianism. For all talk of good governance, the BJP’s election campaign had Hindutva undertones as well as overtones. Not that the other contenders in the fray were content talking about governance – of course, the BSP had nominated a large number of Muslim candidates, way out of proportion. And the polarisation was not new: it began with Muzaffarnagar way back in 2013, and continued under the watch of the ruling Samajwadi Party, which did not bother to make any effective, even ‘pseudo-secular’ intervention. Not just the BJP, but all political parties, it seemed, had arrived at this much consensus, despite all their other disagreements: that good governance can’t fetch as many votes as baser instincts can. After the results, the BJP has offered harmless explanations for its staggering success – free LPG connections, rural electrification and so on – but it knows better. If good governance were the vote-catcher, a good-governance face would have been the chief minister today. And since Hindutva was the vote-catcher, a Hindutva exponent is the chief minister today. Forget kathni, but at least in karni, there’s no hypocrisy.
 
Secondly, what worked in the biggest state is the best fallback strategy for the whole country two years later. In the days to come, a lot many yarns will be spun for the naive and the credulous – about a booming economy, even as data is questioned, about how Aadhaar is improving your life, though you may not know it, about how demonetisation has struck a blow at black money, even as party funding becomes more opaque. Eventually, 2019 is not going to be fought on minimum-government-maximum-governance or on some decisive administrative reforms. The next election will be fought on abattoirs, beef, kabrastan and smashan. And the BJP has already won it, barring any unforeseen circumstances, since the opposition has been so cooperative.
 
These are the two messages coming from the UP choice. That is the idea of a new India. It has already started making Modi look like a dove. Adityanath is the only BJP leader for whom slogans wishing him to be the next prime minister were raised – no matter how small the crowd of chanters. Having a hardliner around should make Modi acceptable to more and more people.
 
Adityanath, then, continues a chain scheme that has been going on ever since the BJP arrived on the scene. Vajpayee was a firebrand right-wing leader, till Advani made him sound like the Nehru of the right. Right from the late 1980s, Advani was caricatured in such a way that cartoonists left out only the horns. Not that he stepped back or apologised for any allegedly communal moves, but he became a moderate the moment crowds started leaving as he started his speech after Modi’s tirades drew applause. (That was at the launch of his 2004 campaign yatra from Porbandar in Gujarat.) Now, Modi, it should be said, has indeed not done much to turn Left-liberals’ nightmares into reality. He has been reinventing himself since 2002, first as a development icon and now as a moderate with a new vision of secularism. Adityanath is the new Hindu hriday samrat. His Hindu Mahasabha lineage in any case puts him at the right of the right. What was considered fringe is now the mainstream. 
 
That is the story going on since the rise of Advani. In the process, the right-wing is going rightward farther and farther. This will continue because Nehruvian secularism, much diluted and corrupted by the Congress and others, has run its course and no political leader seems to have the wherewithal to reinvent it for our times. 
 

ashishm@governancenow.com

(The column appears in the April 1-15, 2017 issue of Governance Now)


Comments

 

Other News

Reit: Real estate for retail

Every middle-class Indian dreams of a home coupled withlanded property to live off the rent. However, large initial investment, particularly inmetros, and low yields ensure that real estate is out of the reach of the common man. A return of 7-8 percent from commercial properties is considered highly commen

Maharashtra poll panel rolls out Electors Verification Programme

The Maharashtra State Election Commission has urged the residents to take advantage of the ongoing Electors Verification Programme (EVP) and register their names along with those of the members of their families in the electoral rolls. The drive, which started on November 11, 2019, will continue till Febru

Budget goes to print with Halwa ceremony

The budget season is here, and the annual document has gone to print, beginning the lock-in period till its presentation in parliament on February 1. The Halwa ceremony, marking the commencement of the budget printing process, was held in North Block Monday morning in the presence of finance

‘Desh Apnayen’ is a movement to partner with your country: Vallabh Bhansali

Investment banker, venture capitalist and stock-market expert Vallabh Bhansali is the co-founder and chairman of Enam Group, a pioneering equity research company in the country. He is a promoter of spiritual and cultural traditions and also an expert on development economics, behavioural science and co

Evaluating public-private partnership, the right way

Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) projects are always under scrutiny, given the options of alternative of traditional procurement for the government. The value-for-money debate is one of the essential parameters to judge any PPP. In the absence of any credible data on this regard, it is very difficult to e

Electoral bonds emerge as preferred mode of political donation

Electoral bonds, introduced in January 2018 to bring in transparency in political funding, has emerged as the preferred route for making donations to parties, according to an analysis of the parties’ audit reports by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR). “Given the anonymi



Archives

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter