The last-minute choice of Yogi Adityanath, after hectic parleys for a week in Delhi and Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, where the RSS national conclave is set to begin on Sunday, is seen in UP political circles as the resurfacing of differences between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
Frustration and dissatisfaction loomed large on the faces of party MLAs when they came out of Lok Bhawan, the new Secretariat of the 32nd Chief Minister, after the BJP legislature party meeting on Saturday evening.
While the media was agog with speculation that Manoj Sinha, Union Minister of State for Railways, reportedly the choice of Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah, would become the chief minister after 14 years of party ‘vanvaas’ in UP, temperature suddenly soared at the party headquarters in Lucknow when Adityanath and Maurya were called to Delhi.
After meeting Shah, both Adityanath and Maurya returned from New Delhi late afternoon. They separately met Naidu at the VVIP Guest House and then moved to Lok Bhawan to attend the legislature party meeting. “The meeting was just a formality to endorse their names, which were already decided by the party high command,” claimed another MLA.
The question doing the rounds in Lucknow is that after winning with such a huge mandate, how did Modi and Shah succumbed to the Sangh Parivar’s pressure? The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had already declared Adityanath as the choice of the saffron outfits. Observers claim that the last-minute choice of Adityanath seems to have affected Modi’s position within the saffron brigade.
They also suggest that it may imply that after getting a huge mandate, the BJP seems to be planning to come back to its aggressive Hindutva and Ram temple agenda in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “It is too early to predict but Adityanath’s election or rather nomination is a pointer to this assertion,” points RM Lal, a senior journalist.
Those who know the new chief minister well fear that once at the helm of power, he is going to be unstoppable. It is that fear which led the party high command to appoint two deputy chief ministers to keep the hardliner under control. Yogi’s appointment seems to have made hollow the party’s poll promise ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ as minority community leaders have taken this decision with a pinch of salt.
“How will we live without fear and expect that the new government will carry out development for the community members when its head is a man who has been openly advocating declaration of India as a Hindu Rashtra and has been spitting venom against the minority community in almost all his public meetings?” fumes Mohammed Usman, an influential community leader from old Lucknow.
Adityanath was also one of the main accused in 2007 riots in Gorakhpur and neighbouring towns.