After a massive win in Uttar Pradesh, BJP kept everyone guessing about who will be the next CM of the India’s largest state. Out of 312 MLAs, BJP and Modi could not find even one Chief Ministerial candidate and they picked from the centre. BJP think, he is most appropriate to lead the state. Yogi Adityanath’s original name is Ajay Singh Bisht. He completed his graduation in BSc (Maths) from Garhwal University in 1992. Later in 1994, he received deeksha as a disciple of Gorakhnath temple head Mahant Avaidyanath, who declared him his successor, later on he came to be known as Yogi Adityanath.
Media painted him in a very peculiar way. There was a social unrest, lots of criticism on social media against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this choice who openly advocated hate against minorities. People voted for BJP trusting Modi’s development agenda, they believed the promises made by him about development, that talk about bridging the crevasse between Hindus and Muslims, all that assertion about gender rights, including those of Muslim women reeling under the weight of the absurd triple talaq. Clearly, it was all tainted. With the promotion of Adityanath as UP CM, Modi has shown us what he really thinks of the mandate in Uttar Pradesh. By choosing Yogi, Modi has left people confused, his development memo do not match to his choice. But what I personally feel is that Uttar Pradesh needs a strong young leader, who can be tool to deliver Modi’s promises. Yogi Adityanath is a learned man, a capable leader, may bring in the needed development, as a CM of the largest state of UP. Adityanath is a strong personality and he really helps Muslims and minorities of the state. Moreover, if we all question, why Yogi Adityanath, then there can be an answer “Why can’t Yogi Adityanath?.
Though! Yogi belongs to a specific tradition of Hindutva politics in Uttar Pradesh that can be traced back to the Mahant Digvijay Nath, who led the capture of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya for Hindus on 22 December 1949. Both Digvijay Nath and his successor, Avaidyanath, belonged to the Hindu Mahasabha and were elected to the Parliament on that party’s ticket. After the BJP and the Sangh Parivar joined the Ayodhya movement in the 1980s, the two strands of Hindu nationalism came together. Yogi Avaidyanath joined BJP in 1991, but nevertheless maintained significant autonomy. Adityanath was appointed Avaidyanath’s successor as the Mahant of Gorakhnath Mutt in 1994. Four years later, he was elected to the Lower House of the Lok Sabha. That time, he was the youngest member of the 12th Lok Sabha at 26. He has been elected to the Parliament from Gorakhpur for five consecutive terms in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections.
After his first electoral win, Yogi Adityanath started his own militant youth wing Hindu Yuva Vahini, which has been known for several strong activities in the Purvanchal region in eastern Uttar Pradesh. There have been recurrent tensions between Adityanath and the BJP leadership over the allocation of election tickets. However, the BJP has not let the tensions mount because Yogi Adityanath has served as a star campaigner for the party. Adityanath has had a strained relation with the BJP for more than a decade. With the emergence of a separate powerbase in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, he has been seeking greater power, causing further conflicts.
On 22–24 December 2006, Adityanath organised a three-day Virat Hindu Mahasammelan at Gorakhpur, during the same period when the BJP was holding its National Executive Meet in Lucknow in the same state. The Uttar Pradesh Elections, 2007 saw a conflict between Adityanath and the BJP leadership – he wanted more than hundred seats in this region to go to candidates selected by him, but the party leadership would not agree. Subsequently, a compromise agreement was reached, and eight of his candidates were fielded. In March 2010, Adityanath was one of several BJP MPs who stated disobedience to the party whip on the Women’s Reservation Bill.
In January 2007, an altercation occurred amidst a Hindus and Muslims during a Muharram procession in Gorakhpur which led to the injuring and hospitalization of a young man, Raj Kumar Agrahari. The District Magistrate made it clear that Adityanath should not visit the site as it may cause tensions. He initially agreed but after Agrahari died, he travelled to the site with a group of his followers. Adityanath started a non-violent dharna on the site. Some members of the group set fire to a nearby mazaar (Muslim mausoleum). A curfew was implemented by the local police, but Adityanath violated it and was subsequently jailed under Section 151A, Sections 146, 147, 279, 506 of the Indian Penal Code. He was arrested and remanded for a fortnight, on charges of disturbing peace. The day after the arrest, the District Magistrate along with the local police chief, were transferred and replaced. This was “widely perceived” as a result of “Adityanath’s clout” with the Uttar Pradesh government of Mulayam Singh Yadav. The tensions soon escalated to riots across Gorakhpur leading to the burning of mosques, homes, buses and trains. After his release, Adityanath protested his jailing in the Parliament.
During the intolerance debate in the Indian media in late 2015, Adityanath compared actor Shah Rukh Khan to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed. He said, “Shah Rukh Khan should remember that majority population of the country made him the star, and if they boycott his films, he will also have to wander on streets. It is unfortunate SRK is speaking the same language that of Hafiz Saeed. In 2005 more than 5,000 people were converted to Hinduism in Etah.
Media has always written the controversial side of him, but they ignored the good work he did by serving people through various charity works. In his Gorakhpur Ashram, Hindus and Muslims are equally offered free meals, free treatments in his hospitals. Perhaps that is the reason Adityanath is winning from Gorakhpur for last 5 terms, we cannot ignore this. If he does not have any goodness left in him definitely the voters would have rejected him. Let him get a chance to perform as CM of the state. People are here to award or reward a leader as per his performance.
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