In Uttar Pradesh, every change in government inevitably comes with a change in — well, colour. And in “Yogi Raj” the colour is assertively saffron: From jackets, saris and turbans to upholstery, towels and even microphone wires wrapped in saffron cloth. Ministers and legislators in the new dispensation under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are leaving nothing to chance to show the colour of their loyalty. Ministers are often seen wearing orange and saffron “sadris” (Nehru-style jackets in khadi), women ministers bright saris to match, and the only Sikh minister, Baldev Olakh, an MLA from Bilaspur, can often be spotted wearing a saffron turban.
For Mohsin Raza, the lone Muslim face in the state government, saffron waistcoats have turned into a habit. The cricketer-turned-politician can invariably be spotted wearing them with a saffron kurta. The seat covers of Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s car are a bright orange and most of the ministers can also be seen with bright saffron “chandan teeka” smeared on their foreheads.
Colour has, of course, always been crucial in Uttar Pradesh. If it was Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), pastel shades and dark blue were the norm, and the Samajwadi Party (SP) government meant bright red and green. And now, it’s saffron all the way. Such is his liking for the colour that the 44-year-old Adityanath likes to sit on chairs that have orange on them. It is for this reason that for the Chief minister, who always wears saffron robes, most chairs, sofas and recliners now have orange upholstery.
And where it is not possible, such as at cabinet meetings, an orange towel has replaced the usual white one. And mandarins in the state government are ensuring that when the Chief Minister is at a public event, even microphones and their wires are wrapped in saffron cloth. A senior official admitted that “Maharaj ji (Yogi) has a penchant for the colour and hence, to please and keep him in a good mood… care is taken to ensure the presence of saffron”.
At a recent review of the functioning of the state government, when Yogi Adityanath flew to Bundelkhand — the first such review held outside the state capital — overzealous officials on the ground picked only “orange” cold drinks for the VVIPs to sip. Even during the oath-taking ceremony earlier and during the manifesto release of the BJP in the run-up to the state assembly elections, which it later won emphatically, many BJP leaders were spotted in saffron, with some even wearing orange socks or a similar coloured “patka” to match.
At press conferences and the unveiling of plaques of some projects held recently at the 5, Kalidas Marg residence of the Chief Minister, the entire marquee and curtains were in bright orange. Taking its cue from the politicians, a hotel here recently readied a lavish spread at its restaurant, not surprisingly named after Yogi, and the colour of all dishes was orange!