THE CITIZEN EDITORIAL | 19 MARCH, 2017
UP, The Laboratory for Hindu Rashtra
The appointment of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh is a rooftop declaration by the BJP/RSS that the agenda of replacing democratic, secular India with a theocratic state has been given a full steam ahead priority. The fig leaf is off, if indeed there ever was one, as Adityanath’s claim to fame is his language and politics of hate and divisiveness. He has been ahead of all others in articulating what can be described as the Hindutva agenda, with hate filled speech against the minorities, and all those he perceives---even the likes of movie star Shahrukh Khan--- to be the obstacles in the fulfilment of this agenda.
The Yogi, a Thakur who has moved rapidly up the political ladder over the past 10 years in particular, has a following in Gorakhpur that has now extended across several constituencies in eastern UP. He is well known not for constructive action, but for hate speech that remains his USP even in Parliament where he barely hides his open dislike for the minorities in particular, and his passion for a majoritarian state.
By placing him at the helm of affairs in UP, the BJP/RSS has made it clear that it is in a rush to move towards the agenda before the 2019 polls that will then, they hope, seal what has been accomplished over these two plus years.
Development will remain on the anvil of course, with the two Deputy CMs--Dinesh Sharma and Keshav Prasad Maurya-- appointed to send out signals of solidarity to the upper castes and the OBC’s that the BJP now regards as its own vote base. That the BJP/RSS will ensure that these castes that have swept the party to victory in these Assembly polls remain mollified and in control for the big elections, is a given.
Alongside Adityanath will be free to effect the agenda that has clearly earned him a centre spot in Nagpur, with the Ram Mandir, and the marginalisation of the minorities going hand in hand as a first step. Alongside will be visible intolerance for dissent, that will take its own form from direct attack, to arrests, to harassment. Any illusions that some might have held that the BJP will opt for the carrot and indirect stick approach has been laid to rest with the selection of the Yogi for the top post, as he is in place not to put on kid gloves and soften the blow, but to continue what has been agenda with the legitimacy of power behind him.
UP has been turned into a state laboratory for a Hindu rashtra, where the experiment of further marginalising sections of society ---with violence where necessary--- and consolidating others to ensure this will now take place on a war footing with 2019 as the target. From this will emerge a strategy that the RSS/BJP will apply for the next polls, before and after.