Has the RSS Found a New, Younger Modi in Adityanath?
LUCKNOW: Yogi Adityanath, a good 22 years younger than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is the new kid on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak block, racing ahead despite the supposed ‘shock’ of his appointment as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
Many in the political establishment in UP insist that he is being groomed as the successor to PM Modi, with a trajectory that is remarkably similar. Both came to power in their respective states on the basis of divisiveness and violence, and when in power laced it with shades of development. PM Modi made a show of inclusiveness with his Sab ka ssath, sab ka vikas’ slogan that has now been embraced as fervently by Adityanath.
Unlike PM Modi, Adityanath is a ‘Yogi’ and the chief priest of a temple in Gorakhpur that has grown in power and stature over the years. He rose to fame with a campaign of hate, openly exhorting masses to attack and kill Muslims. His notorious speech below brought him into the limelight and also turned him into a star campaigner across the state.
He was active in Dadri where Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched by a mob, with the virulent group that he established Hindu Yuva Vahini offering to hand out guns to the majority community members as they were feeling “harassed” in the wake of this killing.
After the resounding victory of the BJP in UP, the RSS discarded kid gloves that might have been on display had the party won fewer seats, and brought in MP Yogi Adityanath as the CM. He showed a transformation patterned along the same lines as when Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi became the country’s Prime Minister in 2014.
Since coming to power Adityanath has been following the pattern set by PM Modi to a T. The decisions of course have been UP state specific but represent a similar bouquet addressing different sections of society at the start of the innings.
1. Adityanath has moved almost immediately into ‘development’ as his main effort. Although in the process the divisiveness remains with the first action being against slaughterhouses where the small businesses are largely run by the minorities, but the big exporters are not necessarily Muslims. Within the first couple of days there has been violence in Hathras, where slaughterhouses and meat shops were burnt by mobs soon after the announcement.
The government has moved fast on this issue, with several slaughterhouses deemed illegal and closed in different cities of UP. This was a promise that Adityanath had made during his campaign speeches even as he encouraged cow vigilantes to take the law into their own hands. The ongoing action is an assurance to this set of supporters that the CM has not forgotten what he had promised to do against those in the meat (read cow) business. However, this is being pitched as a sign of his commitment to the development of UP along the right lines.
2. Adityanath to address women, has ordered the setting up of what he calls Romeo Squads that however will be under the control of the Inspector General of Police. Directions for this have been given already, with these squads supposedly in existence to deal with those eve teasing women. Interestingly, this was a key campaign of the UP CM in previous years but directed only against the youth from the minority community whom he accused of teasing and molesting women from the majority community.
3. To send out the signal of a ‘disciplined’ party he has banned pan masaala and gutka in offices; and warned of strong action agaisnt those who do not report for work on time. This has come along with directions to the police to improve law and order. And has been married to frugality with instructions that Ministers will not use red beacons on their vehicles.He has also directed all Ministers to watch their language, so that they do not hurt the sentiments of the ordinary people.
4. Adiytanath also announced that he was the CM of all, and that there would be no discrimination. As if in support his Hindu Yuva Vaani that had been virulent against the minorities, has started praising the Muslims for supporting the Chief Minister and voting for him all over UP. And particularly in Gorakhpur, his home town. And pointing out in Facebook posts that the Chief Minister was for all, not for some.
Of course as part of the promises to the cow vigilantes, the police and the administration have been told strictly to stop cow smuggling, to show zero tolerance. And in an important aside, to also monitor the social media closely and take action against those found distrubing social harmony!