The Arrival of Yogi Adityanath

Unless one had in-depth knowledge about the politics of Uttar Pradesh, chances are that one may not have heard of a politician called Yogi Adityanath. Even if one had, not many would have thought that he would ultimately become the Chief Minister of the state.

In less than two months since the BJP won the state elections in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath has become popular across the nation.

With the availability of political stalwarts like Rajnath Singh as the chief ministerial candidate, Yogi Adityanath’s name came as a shock to many. The common man did not expect a controversial figure like him to be considered.

What may seem like a risky decision to the common man, to those who can do the political math, the decision was worth a try. Amit Shah, the key decision-maker during elections, knew that Yogi Adityanath was acceptable across castes because of being a sanyasi. His dedication and hard work during campaigning also added weight to his candidature. Rajnath Singh’s supposed reluctance may have ultimately helped Amit Shah arrive at the decision. This way, a man who was mostly backstage, came to the centre stage.

Unlike many surprise Chief Ministers in the past, this one did not fade away into oblivion only to rise again in the next elections. Since his election, Yogi Adityanath has been in the news. Firstly, because he got elected to the most populous and politically important state of the country. Secondly, because of his controversial background. Lastly and most importantly, because of the drastic steps that he has taken since he became the Chief Minister.

Yogi Adityanath hit the ground running since he assumed office. According to reports, he is working at changing the lackadaisical work culture. His ministers are seen to be working over-time. Apparently, he conducts surprise checks and encourages his ministers to do the same for their teams. According to some reports, he has even asked his ministers to prepare a report card for 100 days in office.

Unlike many politicians who forget their pre-poll promises as soon they get elected, he has fulfilled some of his promises like fighting encephalitis.

So far, so good. However, the moot question is should one celebrate the rise of Yogi Adityanath or be concerned about the growing powers of a controversial figure like him?

If one were to look at him from the perspective of communal politics, yes, one should be concerned. He is a staunch supporter of Hinduism and is quite vocal about it. As long as he doesn’t become unfair to the minorities, things may improve. What will happen, only time will tell. Hope the secular strand of India’s polity is not compromised.

On the other hand, if one were to look at him from the perspective of working hard, he gets full marks. He must be given credit for taking bold steps like ending caste-based reservations in private medical and dental colleges in Uttar Pradesh. Concerned about the decreasing number of days in school academic year, he has even taken the bold step of reducing the number of public holidays marking the anniversaries of great personalities. This is in sharp contrast to his predecessors who were seen introducing new ones to get votes.

His working style of working hard and keeping his ministers in check, should be given credit. His supposed stance against corruption too merits mention. Other steps like taking to task errant property builders who harass home buyers, can go a long way in making the most populous state notorious for crime, a prosperous state.

It would be no exaggeration if one were to draw a parallel between Yogi Adityanath and Narendra Modi. The latter too had a controversial background and was pro-Hindutva, but once in office, his public acceptance increased manifold due to his hard work and focus on development. Hope Yogi Adityanath is not a product of good public relations that BJP is adept at. Hope he keeps up his promise of working for the people. Hope he does not use religion as a tool for his political advancements. Hope he works towards maintaining law and order in this tumultuous state. Hope he works towards crucial issues like women safety. Hope he focuses on development and development alone.

If the most populous state can vote him to power at the state level, it would be no exaggeration to expect it to take him to the national level too. Narendra Modi is the best example. Yogi Adityanath cannot afford to falter, else the likes of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav are waiting to bounce back. Moreover, not only the people of Uttar Pradesh, but also of the other states are watching him.

Uttar Pradesh maybe in a political ditch, but many are still looking at the stars with eyes filled with nothing but hope…

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About the Author: Shobhika Puri

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