Yogi lobby confident ‘Hindutva armour’ will sail him through
A hot debate is going on in the political circles of Uttar Pradesh regarding the fate of chief minister Yogi Adityanath. With just a few months left for the assembly elections in the most politically vibrant state of the country and it is but obvious that the non-performance of the government, especially during the second wave of COVID -19 weighs heavy on the mind of BJP leadership at the Centre. News from Uttar Pradesh, of gasping humanity with their families desperately looking for oxygen cylinders, medicines and hospital beds has shaken the people not just in India, but the world over. For once the international media chipped in too and reported extensively on how the state chief minister Yogi Avaidhnath and his trusted lieutenants-the team of bureaucrats, was busy the whole of March and April in campaigning in Assam and West Bengal elections and leaving the people of Uttar Pradesh Ram Bharoesy (on God’s mercy). Endless queues’ at the cremation sites and later hundreds of corpses, allegedly COVID virus infected, found floating in the Gomti projected a very inhuman face of the government. Instead of respecting the plight of the people and showing remorse and getting active Yogi insisted that there was absolutely no shortage of either medicines or hospital beds and that it was being done to tarnish the image of the government. Global appeals for oxygen ad medicines not only revealed his lies but made him a figure of mockery.
In fact his stubborn attitude and refusal to accept that there was gross mismanagement in COVID-19 second wave and that there was a total collapse of state healthcare system. He started issuing illogical statements of denial to the press. To top it he even threatened legal action against anyone who as much as put an SOS on the social media for medical help or anyone who responded to these appeals in the form of suggestions or help in procuring the much needed medical equipment
The inefficiency of the government reached its climax when instead of taking prompt action when hundreds of corpses were found floating in the Ganga the Chief Minister declared that the bodies must have been released into the river due to economic reason or due to the social tradition of jal pravah (immersion in water) by the relatives. The horrific pictures of the bloated rotting bodies being gorged on by stray dogs failed to move the government into action.
Yogi government is also being charged with being the Super Spreader in the villages by allowing the holding of Panchayati elections in the state, already plagued by Covid second wave.
The chief Minister is being labeled as ‘murderer ‘ of over 1632 teachers (government figure is just three), over 500 state employees who were infected and died of COVID-19 while performing election duties in the UP Panchayati elections held during Coronavirus second wave.
“This is a criminal offense and we will not take this lying down, we will fight till the last, it was pure murder,” says Dr. R P Mishra, president, UP Madyamik Shikshak Sangh. He alleged that despite all requests the government not only was adamant to hold the elections but did not even listen to the Teachers’ organization plea to defer counting.
Mishra alleged that no Covid protocol was followed at all during the electioneering, counting or victory processions which resulted in not only many of his colleagues dying out of infection but they also caused illness and deaths in their families.
“We have demanded Rs one crore as compensation to the kin of the teachers who have lost their lives while performing their duties,” he said.
Charging the Yogi Government of being a “Super Spreader” of the Virus he alleged that elections, reverse migration of labors to the villages all added up in spreading the virus in the rural areas.
The trauma and pain that the people have faced during this pandemic will not be forgotten and according to this leader of the teaching community all this will reflect forcefully in the people’s mandate in the coming elections.
But not everyone agrees 100 percent with the views of Mishra. Besides the fact that public memory is very short there are also other reasons rock-solid to say that Yogi is here to stay
According to Amaresh Misra, president of Kisan Kranti Dal, it is highly unlikely that BJP will replace Yogi despite his total non-performance.
“He is the face of hard Hindutva and BJP is relying totally on politics of polarization in 2022 UP elections,” said Misra. It is possible that the party will follow the Assam model where the sitting BJP Chief Minister was not projected. This gave voters overcome their resentment towards the leader.
“It is true that there is huge resentment and dislike both within and outside the party for the chief minister and there are valid reasons also to prove his total inability to control the 23 crore population but the sad truth is that Yogi will not be replaced, chiefly because he has the Sangh blessings and his own Vahini as a staunch support system,” said a BJP MLA not wishing to be identified. Seems the message is loud and clear from the Sangh –No replacement of Yogi, changes possible only around him.
But it is also true that the huge upsurge of resentment against the erstwhile leadership within and outside the party has thrown up names of leaders like the erstwhile Union defense minister and former UP chief minister Rajnath Singh and also of deputy chief minister, Swami Prasad Maurya. There are some who are also speculating a change in the second line and assert the induction of bureaucrat turned politician, and Prime Minister Modi’s Blue-eyed boy, Arvind Kumar Sharma, as deputy chief minister.
But saner voices and even the diehard critics of Yogi while accepting that there is a strong wave against him and his style of functioning deny that he will be replaced or downsized. The chief reason for this they say is because Yogi has a strong Hindutava armor which guards him. Remember, Yogi is the lone chief minister of the country who has even after donning the secular chair of the head of the state continued to retain the position as head priest of the Gorakhnath Math, a Hindu temple in his home turf Gorakhpur. He has held the position of the head priest since the death of his spiritual father, Mahant Avaidyanath who died in September 2014
Besides, Yogi continues to exercises a strong hold over the masses through Hindu Yuva Vahini, a right-winged religious group of firebrand youth which he set up in April 2002 in Gorakhpur. The group is reportedly involved in communal violence and is a force to reckon with in the area and beyond.
Last but not least is Yogi’s great connect with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which protects him from any harm, and cashes on Yogi’s populist Hindutva firebrand image. In fact, it is no secret that it was the RSS which ensured him this powerful seat when the BJP won the state elections in 2017. The elections were fought on the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and no chief ministerial candidate had been projected in the assembly polls.
Considering the multiple armors Yogi wears, and the fact that there is no other leader with this strong Hindutava image to take up the reign in Uttar Pradesh it will certainly not be in BJP interest to antagonize Yogi and bear the brunt in the coming assembly elections.
So the case stands closed even before being pleaded.. Yogi has been exonerated even before trial. He is the lone chief minister of any state who has through staunch Hindutva mantra succeeded a full term in the state and is now all poised to kick start a second term. It is now only the people who can show him their strength and oust him through their collective mandate.
Despite a huge anti-Yogi wave that almost became a Tsunami during the second wave of Corona virus for which the state machinery was totally not prepared, political pundit are saying that nothing will happen to him, he is safe. This hue and cry will result in some minor reshuffle
In short Yogi has been proved non-guilty without trial.
• Charged with non-performance and non-implementation of government welfare schemes
• Charged with over-dependence on Team- 11 officers and ignoring the rest.
• Charged with a deaf ear to the grievances of even his BJP legislators
• Charged with a rigid, rude, and not forgiving behavior for one and all.
• Charged with continuing his priesthood position even when he heads a secular state.
• Charged with openly ignoring the welfare of the minorities
• Charged with bypassing Court advisory of imposing lockdown when corona was at its peak
• Draconian orders of punishing anyone who spoke against the government healthcare failure on social media or otherwise.
• Opened liquor shops even during the ‘covid curfew’.
• Charged with being obsessed with the Ram mandir project to lure the majority even during the pandemic
• Charged with fudging coronavirus data in the state to give a hunky dory picture.
• Charged with failure to turn his Hindutva charisma into positive results for BJP in West Bengal.
By Kulsum Mustafa from lucknow