After emerging as the front-runner for the post of Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s post early in the day today, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament (MP from Gorakhpur) quickly grabbed the position of the front-runner ahead of the BJP Legislative party meeting in Lucknow that was attended by senior party functionaries like Venkaiah Naidu, Om Mathur, Sunil Bansal and Bhupendra Yadav. However, the meet was not attended by either PM Narendra Modi nor party President Amit Shah. What was likely to transpire was hinted at by a huge number of his supporters gathered outside the building where the meeting was being held as they were the most dominant of the lot and all of them were shouting ‘Yogi, Yogi, Yogi’ drowning out any other rivals supporters’ efforts to shout them down.
Be that as it may, it is clear that PM Narendra Modi has turned to a very aggressive member of the party to set Uttar Pradesh up for the BJP going into the future as well as leading up to the 2019 general elections – it is the biggest and most populous state in the country has the most critical role in deciding which direction the country will go. And what does Yogi bring to the table? Yogi is a gung-ho can-do strongman who brooks no interference in his work and has an ostensible Hindutva/saffron agenda. Not only will he be looked to provide the muscle-power required to spread the BJP’s support across all regions, he will be expected to keep alive or even power-up the Ayodhya and Ram temple agenda.
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 18, 2017
Adityanath has also frequently taken an anti-Muslim stance and has made many shocking statements. However, with PM Modi saying, during his campaign speeches that his government in UP, when and if it comes to power, will be working according to just one principle and that is ‘Sabka Saath and Sabka Vikas’, it is likely that Yogi will toe that line, at least as far as his Cabinet decisions and economic policies are concerned. PM Modi had highlighted the belief that was much in Hindu minds at least that the Samajwadi Party was discriminating against them in his speeches when he said that if there is electricity being supplied during ‘Ramzan then the same should be done during Diwali and if land is being provided for graveyards (kabristan) then the same should be done for crematoria (Shamshaan)’ and it will be on Yogi to make sure that the general public loses this perception fast.
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But most of all, what Yogi brings for the BJP is his inexhaustible energy to get things done. He has powered-up the BJP in the state and managed to impress not just Amit Shah but also PM Modi. That he can carry the entire BJP house with him is also evident from the fact he has been for years one of the most high profile faces in the state for the party despite making many outrageous statements and the party itself has stood by him no matter what the controversy may be.
However, his hand has been weakened a little as keeping control over him will be 2 deputy chief ministers PM Modi has foisted on him in the form of Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma – perhaps to ensure he does not carry the saffronite agenda too far.