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Rajnath Singh Promises No Kairana-like 'Exodus' in Future

Ahead of Uttar Pradesh polls BJP has shown remarkable clarity in keeping the leadership issue pending by not projecting a CM face.

Sumit Pande | CNN-News18

Updated:February 4, 2017, 9:01 AM IST
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Rajnath Singh Promises No Kairana-like 'Exodus' in Future
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a freewheeling conversation with Network 18 Group Editor Rahul Joshi.

New Delhi: Ahead of Uttar Pradesh polls BJP has shown remarkable clarity in keeping the leadership issue pending by not projecting a CM face.

In campaign as well, the party in the last four months has vacillated between cross border surgical strikes to demonetisation.

It was only at the launch of the party manifesto last week that Amit Shah gave a concrete direction to the party narrative for UP polls, dovetailing current law and order situation in the state with contentious issues like migrations, while promising to close down mechanical abbatoirs in the state.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the last BJP CM of UP, however, is not so strident in his assessment of some of the issues being raised by Shah in western UP.

In an interview to Network18, Singh was asked to comment on Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath's comparison of Kairana with the exodus of Kashmiri Pandit.

"You can’t say the situation is that much out of control" said Rajnath Singh in reply to the question. "But you need a government whose intentions are clear," he added.

On being asked who did he held responsible for the exodus, Rajnath said: "Governments should take care that such situations don’t arise. Whatever has happened is unfortunate. All I can say is that in the future, we will make sure that nobody has to flee from not just Kairana or western UP but from anywhere in the state."

Rajnath's name at one point was considered as the CM face of the party for UP. The former national president who is de jure number two in the council of ministers after PM Modi was not inclined to return to state politics.

Rajnath's line on migration and Kairana, however, should not come as a surprise to political pundits. Firstly, he isn't merely a senior party leader. Rajnath Singh is the Home Minister of the country. And whatever he says has consequences and meaning.

Second, Rajnath though considered very close to the RSS has never taken a very strident line on such polarising issues. Even as the chief minister, when BJP contested and lost 2002 polls under his leadership, Rajnath attempted a comeback through caste and social engineering. He was a contemporary of Kalyan Singh, and played a perfect foil to the former CM who had cultivated and carefully nurtured a hardline hindutva image.

Former Prime Minister Vajpayee has been both a mentor and political guru to Rajnath Singh.

Inadvertently or otherwise, in public speaking Rajnath attempts to do a Vajpayee - at least in gestures and the quintessential spin of the right hand.

In politics too, like Vajpayee he has toed the middle path.

A fine balancing act indeed. Especially by someone who has been RSS's trusted poster boy - but never on display.

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