In a surprise talk of peace and development by a volatile saffron leader who is known more for his fiery saffron-based rhetoric than anything else, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) Yogi Adityanath, spoke to the media today in an extremely measured manner as reports of a massive BJP win in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections started filtering in (BJP was leading in a whopping 300 seats, while Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and ally Congress were leading in 73 seats and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 20 seats.) With such a massive win likely to transpire as voting concludes, it was expected that BJP strongmen like Adityanath would throw caution to the winds and mouth their more aggressive saffron agenda especially regarding Ram temple/Babri Masjid issue in Ayodhya. However, that has not happened, at least as yet, as Adityanath’s first words to the media were, “People have rejected the SP-Congress alliance in a big way; this is a vote for development.” What is clear from this is that he has bowed before the Narendra Modi wave and acknowledged that the PM’s agenda was the right and proper path for the party in the state. PM has refrained from mentioning the Ram mandir-Masjid row even though he has mentioned repeatedly issues like ‘Shamshaan-Kabristan, Ramzan-Diwali’ issues and said that development should be equal for all (Sabka Saath-Sabka Vikas) without discrimination. His hint was that Hindus are being discriminated against by the SP govt which was catering to its Muslim vote banks’ interests.
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However, considering that the BJP got its initial lift in the public sphere from the Ram mandir issue in the times of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani and MM Joshi (all of whom have been sidelined by Modi), there is no certainty what will happen in the future and whether the extreme Hindutva forces will rise again. But considering that PM Modi has a larger developmental agenda for all of India, the likelihood of the saffron agenda being shelved is greater.
That he has been able to quieten saffron lobby should also be interpreted as a big win for PM Modi. He has shown that not vitriol, the way to the hearts of the people and to successfully mobilize them to vote is through promises and delivery of development.