Yogi Adityanath: Taking Stock of his Strength, Weaknesses and New Opportunity
So what lies ahead for UP’s freshly-minted chief minister? Uday Rana looks at the strengths and weaknesses of Yogi Adityanath, and the opportunities and threats that await him.
Yogi Adityanath will take oath as next Uttar Pradesh CM on Sunday.
New Delhi: So what lies ahead for UP’s freshly-minted chief minister? Uday Rana looks at the strengths and weaknesses of Yogi Adityanath, and the opportunities and threats that await him.
Strength: At 44, he is the youngest UP CM after Akhilesh Yadav who ascended to the high chair in Lucknow at 38 in 2012. Yogi enjoys massive support among the BJP cadre across caste and class. His original area of activity was limited to Poorvanchal, but of late he has taken up the ‘Hindutuva causes’ in Western UP with equal force, even equating Kairana to Kashmir. His image as a Hindutva icon will make the RSS support him, although he was not exactly a Sangh favourite until now. In a state where maintenance of law and order was a major voting issue, his tough-on-crime image could be an advantage. And of course, he has no major charges of corruption against him.
Weakness: His image as a rabble rouser. In 2005, he led a “purification drive” to “re-convert” Christians to Hinduism. In 2007, he staged a “non-violent dharna” during a Moharram procession in Gorakhpur. In the past, videos have surfaced of Adityanath making speeches that are inflammatory in nature. He has three criminal cases against him, including charges of rioting and attempt to murder. Now the question is will Yogi be able to recast himself in the mould of a chief minister who is acceptable to Hindus and non-Hindus alike? Also, he has no track record of governance and will have to prove himself on that front.
Opportunity: With 325 MLAs under his belt, he can redefine UP politics the way he wants. After three decades of caste-combination based governance that has made many sections cry foul, Yogi – who has never played his Thakur card – has his moment now to deliver on the PM’s vision of “sabka saath, sabka vikaas”. His bastion Poorvanchal has been one of the most underdeveloped areas of UP, and Yogi can set that right. On a personal front, if he plays his ‘Hindutva’ cards smartly by managing the Amit Shah-Narendra Modi duo and RSS, Yogi can come into his own as the strongman of UP.
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Threat: For two decades he has cultivated a constituency, and those might expect him to deliver on all that polarising statements. And then there is the promise of Ram Temple in Ayodhya that Yogi has aggressively supported. In the run-up to UP polls, he had said this much: "The hurdles on the path of construction of a grand Ram temple will be gradually removed and its construction will soon start in Ayodhya.” He may have to deliver on that front although the matter is subjudice. Most importantly, he may have to keep a check on the fringe who might find new strength in his elevation.
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