Yogi hopes to deliver U.P by creating communal divide

New Delhi, Feb 12 What is the relatively new flag bearer of the Saffron Brigade up to? What are his super duper loyalists up to? What are his cronies trying to do? The cronies do not show up much in public spaces. They find quite younger elements to stand up and be counted as the unrelenting and undying faithful. What is the command they receive? Pick up a big placard and gather a team as long as possible. What is written on the placard in big letters? The same words they are shouting as loud as possible? What are those words?

Here goes: “U.P. mein rehna hai, toh Yogi Yogi kehna hai”. This set of a brigade or a few companies may or may not carry the Tiranga or the Tricolour or the Bhagwa or Saffron banner. That is left to the rest or several other innumerable elements in places of choice, especially tense areas. But the most preferred ground is western U.P., be it Saharanpur or the other nearby district of Muzaffarnagar. Yogi Adityanath as a member of the Lok Sabha concentrated his energies to whip up anger before and after 2014 General Election. He had set his eyes on the Lucknow Durbar, and as Chief Minister,  he has already painted the State Secretriat saffron to match his own preferred ochre robes. That is just the beginning. He has also painted  a “madrassa” saffron to give himself that broadest of smiles and extreme confidence.

But the Yogi, whose full name is Yogi Adityanath; he is the Mahant or chief priest of his Gorakhpur temple, which remains his prime preference for occasional or frequent visits. He refuses to say that as a priest he is a high caste Brahmin. But in fact, he is a warrior, a Thakur to be precise. That makes him the preferred ruler of the State because he comes from the clan of bygone rulers of princely States in large parts of northern India.

 Regardless of the party affiliations, he enjoys the tacit support and appreciation of Thakurs in the political spectrum, be it BJP, Socialist Party or perhaps even the Congress. Yet the Thakurs may cross swords, be it history on the war front or the political minefield as of now or since the freedom movement. One of the prime movers and shakers of the Thakurs is the Kshatiya Samaj and  its elected president, Thakur Amar Singh, the alter ego of Mulayam Singh Yadav, and his brother, Shivpal Singh, but he is also the greatest detractor of Akhilesh Yadav, the defeated and dethroned Chief Minister of U.P. in the bygone year, 2017.

One of the early actions of Yogi Adityanath as the lord and master of Uttar Pradesh last year was to move most of the Collectors and Senior Superintendents of Police in 75 districts of the State and appoint Thakurs in most of those positions. This was all low key and was hardly reported in the media, print or electronic, except in one odd hidden column of an inside page of an un-widely read newspaper.

The acid test for the Yogi will come soon when he is expected to deliver the 71 seats the BJP won in the 2014 General Election. Short of that the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, Mr. Amit Shah, the party president, and RSS chief, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, will not be satisfied in the 2019 elections in 14 months from now, if not this year itself as the Prime Minister has sometimes suggested. Any losses to the U.P. tally in the Lok Sabha, would reflect on the capabilities, administrative and political, of the present blue-eyed Yogi. Mr. Modi has told the people of  U.P. that he is Prime Minister because of the big tally in the Lok Sabha from the State.

 Is it a tall order to expect more than 100 seats from U.P., Bihar (32) and Delhi? That is a cause of anxiety and worry for the BJP as the Bihar Chief Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar, is an uncertain ally for the next General Election even if the NDA alliance with the Andhra Chief Minister is sought to be kept alive in spite of the anger of the Telegu Desam MPs in the Lok Sabha being vented forcefully in the first week of February. The BJP expects the triple talaq law, if enacted early, to be a game changer, to win over the “Muslim sisters”.

Is the BJP looking forward to a tie-up with the DMK and the superstar Rajnikanth to keep the NDA going since the 2G scam case has been thrown out of the window by the Special CBI court and the Telecom Minister Raja has been acquitted as well as Ms. Kanhimozi, an MP and daughter of Mr. Karunanidhi. There are many ifs and buts on the national scene.

Kasgang in wesstern U.P. has emerged again as the battleground with baiting some elements provoking rival sections of society. There is much continuing tension in the area. Two senior officials wrote Facebook or Twitter posts of the goings-on in the area, but one of them a statistics officer, and the other a police officer, promptly deleted their revealing comments. The woman officer was transferred by the District Magistrate of Saharanpur in his capacity as Acting Commissioner of the Division.

The Tricolour bearing marches were reported to be celebrating the Republic Day time, but in their hearts and slogans were saffron diatribes. Some people were killed and injured in the riots that ensued, but the trigger was said to be the death of a majority community youth. Tension continues. There have been riots. There has been reconciliation. There has been revival of tension.