There have been speculations around the political fate of Yogi Adityanath over the last two weeks. According to rumour mills, Yogi will be asked to quit before the 2022 Assembly elections or his wings will be clipped. But nothing of that sort is going to happen, which is evident in the talks he had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J.P. Nadda. If highly-placed sources are to be believed, the top leadership of the BJP is fully satisfied with Yogi’s work and he has full support of the leadership. Yogi has given the best performance as a chief minister.
After spending two days in Delhi, Yogi Adityanath is back in Lucknow. But the speculations before he arrived in Delhi and post his return to Lucknow have refused to subside. Is the highest leadership of the BJP not happy with Yogi Adityanath, is there some underlying grave meaning behind the meetings he had with PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, are plans afoot to change the leadership in UP before the next Assembly election? All these questions are now being asked. The party and journalists who curse Modi and Yogi are actually fanning these speculations.
It is almost a tradition in the BJP that nobody denies such speculations. The idea is to let such things run for some time and if some people derive joy out of this, so be it. Apart from meeting Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J.P. Nadda, Yogi also met President Ram Nath Kovind.
How are these meetings significant? Is top leadership of the party really not happy with Yogi and the way he carries out his business in UP where the next Assembly election is scheduled in early 2022? Is Yogi behaving like a rebel and most leaders in the party are not happy with him?
If highly-placed sources are to be believed, all these speculations are baseless. The sources indicate that PM Modi is happy with the work Yogi has done so far. Modi has himself been a chief minister for more than 12 years and is aware of the challenges Yogi Adityanath faces as the chief minister of the large state like UP. Source says that PM Modi is happy with Yogi who is heading the government in UP since 2017 and, according to him, is the best chief minister in the country. Yogi’s only mistake: he wears saffron robes because he is a sadhu. He is running a successful government of the BJP in the UP but this is not palatable to the opposition, the intellectuals and a large section of journalists.
Like Yogi Adityanath, Modi too was attacked when he was the longest serving chief minister of Gujarat. His critics never talked about his performance as a chief minister, but how he was not carrying other leaders of the party along with him. They kept themselves busy, gossiping that a section of the party was rebelling against him.
There are many similarities between Prime Minister Modi and chief minister Yogi. Both are reclusive and have no family of their own. Modi had left his family when he was still young; Yogi too became a disciple and later the heir of Mahant Avaidyanath of Gorakhnath Temple and had to break ties with his family. Modi had not participated in the last rites of his father. Yogi too, as the CM of UP, did not take part in the cremation ceremony of his father last year—the country was witnessing the first wave of the pandemic and Yogi could not take a break from his responsibilities as the chief minister.
The family is not an impediment for them, so they devote their full time to their respective governments. Both respect time. They rise early and do Yoga and Pranayam. They do not rest, that’s not in their nature. Both follow almost the same style of functioning. They both have zero tolerance for corruption. They do not allow their near and dear ones to take undue advantage of their position. Apart from a few hours of sleep, both devote their waking hours to running the government and the administration. They do not take offs, do not believe in idle chatter and keep a tab on how they spend each and every minute of their waking hours.
They can understand even the most complex problems and find solutions in no time. They have complete control over administration and bureaucracy and this has been the USP of Modi from his days as the CM. As the CM of UP, Yogi too has learnt this trick very fast. As the chief minister, Modi would often address public, a habit he has maintained to date as the PM. This is true for Yogi as well. Even when the pandemic was at its peak in the state, he toured each and every district. Right from arranging hospital beds for people, to helping them with oxygen or even vaccination, he has been at the helm of affairs, always.
Yogi has often been criticised for failing to take his cabinet colleagues along with him. His aggressive nature is also much-discussed. Similar criticism was directed at Modi when he became the chief minister of Gujarat. When Modi was appointed the CM of Gujarat, he faced the challenge of bringing the government and the administration back on track. Winning hearts of his partymen was not his priority. That is why he dropped many ministers, sidelined those who did not have a clean image. Same is the case with Yogi; he cannot put up with ministers who are not performing well. His only concern is bringing UP back on the development track.
Since PM Modi is also an MP from Varanasi since 2014, Yogi’s responsibility increases manifold. The state which is represented by the PM cannot lag on development and administration. That is why sometimes the team gets pulled in different directions—the sole aim is maximum performance. But the party’s highest leadership knows that Yogi is the most effective leader who can ensure efficient administration and a successful government in UP. Therefore, even if there are some minor problems, these are not an issue with the leadership.
The party leadership had the same view regarding Modi when he was the CM of Gujarat. Modi’s opponents in Delhi were always complaining about him but the party leadership stood behind him because he was delivering as per the party’s plans. Today, as the PM, Modi is well aware of the challenges Yogi is facing. That is why his meeting with Yogi lasted for more than an hour—he must have taken stock of the problems Yogi is facing as well as expressed satisfaction over his performance.
Now the question is, how much faith PM Modi places on UP CM Yogi. The answer to this question lies in a symbolic photo in which PM Modi is standing on the banks of Sangam in Prayagraj in 2019. Modi was preparing to do aarti and Yogi was standing just behind him, as a mark of respect. Modi glanced sideways and commanded him to stand by his side and they performed the aarti together. This gesture was a signal to everyone.
Critics of Modi and Yogi might have deliberately forgotten this gesture, but Modi does not forget anything. Surely, Modi remembers that when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, he would often stand next to his car even on Sundays to go to the Secretariat and then he would be told that it was a holiday and the office was closed. Same is the case with Yogi and that is why Modi is fully supporting Yogi. Yogi’s critics can build castles in the air but cannot do anything to bring him down in the real world. Because in the real world, Yogi is soaring because Modi wants him to.