Far from its image of a group of lathi-wielding vigilantes, the Hindu Yuva Vahini is set to emerge as an organisation with strict membership rules and streamlined operations
Having dissolved all organisational units last week, the Hindu Yuva Vahini, the youth outfit founded by Yogi Adityanath in 2002, is set to mark its comeback with a new look. On the cards is a massive image makeover, a restructuring and an expansion beyond Uttar Pradesh to cover other states ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. The outfit could also shed its name as part of this rebranding exercise, The India Express reported citing sources, adding that the restructuring has the go-ahead of the top BJP leadership.
The move appears to have stemmed from the bad press it has gotten in recent years owing to its violent activities in the name of furthering the Hindu cause. Moreover, its association with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, despite his attempts to clamp down on its aggressive activities, was another cause of worry as polls neared.
As part of its rebranding, the Hindu Yuva Vahini is looking to transform itself into an organisation with strict membership rules and streamlined operations and, even a rechristening, if found necessary.
Experts have been roped in to frame bylaws and rules for membership and the appointment of office-bearers. A focus on inducting members from the “service and business classes” and social outfits is also on agenda for the rebranding exercise.
Also on the cards is a steady expansion to states beyond Uttar Pradesh, where it already has a strong presence in the districts of Gorakhpur, Deoria, Kushinagar, Azamgarh, Mau, Sant Kabir Nagar and Basti.
Raghvendra Singh, former BJP MLA and state in-charge of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, told The Sunday Express that the units were dissolved as many other organisations with similar names, and involved in nefarious activities, had cropped up over the last five years.
The bully-boy image of the Hindu Yuva Vahini stems from the various cases it has been linked to prior to the BJP coming to the power in Uttar Pradesh. Its members have been named in cases of communal riots and tensions in Gorakhpur, Mau, Azamgarh, Kushinagar, among others under the regime of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati as chief ministers.
Adityanath set up the Hindu Yuva Vahini in 2002 as an organisation aimed at working for Hindu culture and cow protection, and against untouchability. After he was appointed CM in 2017, the outfit soon acquired the image of a group of vigilantes who would forcibly enter houses alleging love jihad, would impose moral policing and launch violent attacks against alleged cattle smugglers at the drop of a hat.