SEEMA MUSTAFA | 27 MARCH, 2017
LUCKNOW: The whispers have become louder as the BJP Ministers and Chief Ministers brought under a tight code of conduct by Prime Minister Narendra Modi find that the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath is breaking every rule in the little black book. And instead of keeping a low profile, staying away from the media as per standard instructions since 2014 when the BJP government came to power, Adityanath is at the centre of a huge propaganda blitz. Videos sing his glory, local media and channels report his every move with adulatory zeal that had hitherto been reserved only for PM Modi.
Yogi Adityanath Dadicated Song By Sunder Panchal Vaidik || DJ Movies 181,080 views
The whispers within the BJP corridors suggest that Adityanath was not PM Modi’s choice. And that relations between him and the Prime Minister have not been more than cordial, and sometimes not even that.
Adityanath, a five term MP from Gorakhpur, was not even a first choice for the BJP campaign committee for these Assembly elections. He was passed over twice, and then included in the final expanded commitee. Unlike 2014 when he campaigned even for NDA candidates, this time in the UP polls he was confined by and large to his own area of Gorakhpur.
His supporters recall that he was passed over in 2014 by PM Modi for the Council of Ministers, despite their propaganda that he would be a Minister in the new government at the time. PM Modi had no use for him in the government, and even in UP Adityanath, while sent to communal hot spots by BJP president Amit Shah, was not amongst those consulted about the larger issues of strategy and leadership in UP.
This was evident even in January this year when the Hindu Yuva Vahini, and organisation he founded in 2002, fielded six candidates almost immediately after his name was announced as the BJP candidate from Gorakhpur. “We will release lists of more candidates. HYV workers are upset because the BJP has insulted Yogi Adityanathji. The people of eastern UP wanted Adityanathji to be declared as the chief ministerial face, but the BJP ignored him. The party also did not include him in its election management committee,” Sunil Singh, the HYV state president told the media.
In fact, he also disclosed that “Adityanathji had given a list of around 10 candidates, but the BJP gave tickets to only two of them. We cannot tolerate this any more and that’s why we have decided to field candidates (as independents) against BJP.”
Adityanath was also not happy at being ignored by the central leadership over the past years. And as Singh disclosed, “We had assured voters in Gorakhpur during the Lok Sabha campaign in 2014 that they will elect an MP as well as an Union Minister by voting for Adityanathji. But that did not happen. The BJP also ignored him during its Parivartan Yatra last year. The photograph of our mass leader was not on posters and banners of the yatra. The BJP gave preference to Rajnath Singh, Keshav Prasad Maurya, Uma Bharti and Kalraj Mishra.”
Significantly despite being contacted by reporters with questions about the candidates fielded by the Hindu Vahini, Adityanath remained silent. Adityanath’s role in the Assembly poll campaign was not even a fraction of the space he had occupied in the 2014 campaign. And despite that, had not been accommodated in Delhi by PM Modi who was calling the shots at the time.
Sources see a concerted and orchestrated effort now to direct the media towards Adityanath, and build a brand around the yogi that places his anti-minority image in a basket of discipline, strong administration, anti-corruption woven with the threads of hard Hindutva. His saffron robes places him outside the corporate world to which PM Modi is seen to belong, even more so by comparison, and make him the ascetic leader with no interests (such as expensive suits), and with the Ram Mandir and the Hindutva agenda in his sights.
Significantly, there is general agreement in Lucknow’s political circles that Adityanath will move very soon towards building the temple as per the long held promise of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. As a Congress legislator from the state said, “PM Modi might speak of it but is unlikely to do it, Adityanath will have no such reservations.”
PM Modi had made it clear that he would not tolerate personality cults, issuing strict instructions to his largely terrified Cabinet not to speak to the media without due clearance. BJP Chief Ministers appointed in states after he came to power, like Devendra Fadnavis of Maharashtra, were handpicked by the Prime Minister and Shah and followed the path laid out for them with little deviation.
Adityanath, on the other hand, has become a force in himself within days of coming to power. His only concession to Delhi has been his endorsement of PM Modi’s sab ka saath, sab ka vikas slogan, and he now moves across the state with the authority of the powerful. This was more than evident when he visited Gorakhpur after becoming the CM, with several Ministers waiting for hours for him on the dais, and the media there in full bulb popping strength. Such shows----with massive publicity---had been reserved for the past three years for only PM Modi in the BJP, with even Shah taking a far lower second place despite his proximity to the PM.
The Prime Minister till date has shown zero tolerance to such personality cults. Why is he looking the other way now? And who is giving Adityanath this over arching confidence? Who is quietly pushing the media his way? And why? Adityanath is a far more classical prototype of Hindutva than PM Modi. Watch this space, during this time of fast paced developments,for more on this.