Hope Adityanath adjusts his public rhetoric to befit his new office: Expert

“All citizens of UP, no matter their religion, deserve a chief minister who will seek development for all, regardless of their background.”

GN Bureau | March 30, 2017


#Yogi Adityanath   #UP   #poll 2017   #Uttar Pradesh chief minister   #elections   #BJP   #Bharatiya Janata Party   #HIndutva  
Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath

 
Indian parties do not choose their politicians with a view to what the world might conclude, but there is no denying the signal Yogi Adityanath’s pick sends: with a huge mandate, the BJP has decided to lead with the face of religious nationalism—not the forward-looking, twenty-first century face of the New India—in their most important state, said a leading international expert.
 
“Some Indian commentators have used the phrase “the mask has come off” or “bait and switch” to describe this abrupt shift from a development-focused platform. I hope this does not signal that UP will become enmeshed in religious conflict, unable to advance its development agenda,” wrote Alyssa Ayres, Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia.
 
 
In a blog “BJP Puts Religion in the Front Seat in India’s Largest State”, Ayres wrote that Adityanath supporters will say he deserves a chance to prove himself. “He does, but his past inflammatory remarks—the reason for his national notoriety—are surely cause for concern.”
 
She said that prime minister Narendra Modi has expended enormous political capital in domestic and foreign policy highlighting the urgency of India’s development, and during his nearly three years in government has initiated countless initiatives geared toward providing better sanitation and infrastructure for the whole country, encouraging more foreign direct investment, enticing manufacturers to set up in India, calling for “women-led development,” plumping for greater innovation, and positioning India as a new “leading power” on the world stage. These emphases can be summed up in his party’s national campaign slogan, sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas—everyone together, development for all.
 
The BJP conducted their campaign in UP without naming a chief minister candidate for the state.
 
Adityanath has attained fame in India due to his oratory, nearly always described as “fiery,” with him frequently described as a “firebrand” leader of Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism. “I will refrain from enumerating some of the many speeches he has given over the years that illustrate his antipathy for Muslims. The point is that he will now be responsible for overseeing the development of this critically important state, one with enormous problems and enormous needs, and one in which Hindu-Muslim tensions continue to be a concern,” the blog said.
 
She went on to say that the Modi government has two years left in office, and despite having initiated many development programs, has a long way to go to see them fulfilled. “Let’s hope the new leader of India’s largest state adjusts his perspective and his public rhetoric to befit the new office he holds, one charged with the welfare of more than 200 million people, of which some nineteen percent are Muslim. All citizens of UP, no matter their religion, deserve a chief minister who will seek development for all, regardless of their background.”
 



 

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