How Yogi Adityanath’s rise might change the dynamics of UP politics

Aggressive Hindutva is likely to trigger aggressive opposition as well.

Written by Shyamlal Yadav | Updated: March 23, 2017 5:43 pm
Adityanath, Adityanath UP, Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh CM, Rajnath Singh, Hindutva politics, BJP UP, Yogi Adityanath UP CM, BJP, Narendra Modi, Indian Express The Sangh had expressed displeasure with the distribution of tickets, but has been silent since the results came in. (PTI/File)

The elevation of Yogi Adityanath — long seen as a chief ministerial candidate in a BJP government, but not quite a frontrunner — as Chief Minister sends out important political messages and signals key likely trends in the politics of Uttar Pradesh in the coming weeks and months.

Rise of a new Thakur icon, eclipse of Rajnath Singh: From being a state president of the BJP in UP to ‘arranging’, from the MLAs of the Congress and BSP, a majority for Kalyan Singh in 1997, to becoming Chief Minister in 2000, Rajnath Singh has been the BJP’s most prominent Thakur leader in UP. The selection of Yogi Adityanath, a Thakur by birth, to lead the state suggests the likelihood of Rajnath gradually losing his importance — even though he does remain Union Home Minister. Thakurs constitute less than 5% of UP’s population, but are an influential community. They also tend to go with power, which currently lies with Yogi.

Hindutva first, development later: The election results have shown that former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s slogans of development did not work as well as the BJP’s finely tuned arithmetic of caste, which succeeded in polarising most Hindu votes in its favour. The BJP is aware that delivering on development in the two years that are left before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be difficult in a state that is prone to viewing most things through the prism of caste and creed, and where the bureaucracy — which operates the levers of state — is divided on caste lines to an even greater degree than politicians and society at large. It is clear that Yogi will be expected to remain true to his well-known style, while development — which UP urgently needs — will be monitored by others. Both — Hindutva and development — could be the BJP’s issues for the elections of 2019.

Focus on upper castes: With Mayawati having got just 19 seats, it might have appeared logical that the BJP would try to capture vacant Dalit space and weaken her further — perhaps by appointing a Dalit leader Deputy CM. But the claim by BJP leaders that non-Jatav Dalits voted for the party does not square up with the fact that the BSP still got over 22% of the total vote. With a Thakur as CM and a Brahmin (Dinesh Sharma) as one of his deputies, it is clear that the BJP is not focusing on Dalits. Only 2 Cabinet Ministers and 3 Ministers of State in Adityanath’s ministry are Dalits — by contrast, there are 8 Brahmins (including Sharma), 8 Thakurs (including Adityanath), 4 Vaishyas, and 2 Bhumihars. Several OBC communities such as Gujjars have no representation in the ministry. It is clear that upper castes remain the BJP’s main focus.

Possible emergence of ‘one’ opposition: Aggressive Hindutva is likely to trigger aggressive opposition as well. Which among the SP and BSP takes the lead will depend on which side the Muslims stand. With Muslims having clearly chosen the SP-Congress (19 of whose 54 Muslim candidates won), the BSP faces the risk of becoming irrelevant. While a realignment of political and social forces is possible in the coming years, there remains a possibility that the SP and BSP, despite all their bitterness, might seriously consider coming together like in 1993 — with the Congress willing to join in to improve its relevance both in the state and at the Centre. It is likely that the BJP would try to keep the SP relevant so that Muslim votes remain with it, and the Congress gets no chance to revive itself.

A message to the RSS: The Sangh had expressed displeasure with the distribution of tickets, but has been silent since the results came in. In North-Eastern UP, the entire Parivar — RSS, VHP and BJP — is often seen as being split into those who are pro-Yogi and those who are anti-Yogi. The Chief Minister is more aggressive than any RSS leader, the Sangh has difficulty dictating to him, and there may be problems in the functional relationship between the RSS and the government. The two Deputy CMs will have a role in keeping the relationship going.

Test for the ‘na khaunga, na khane doonga’ pledge: The BJP has promised a corruption-free regime, but almost a fourth of its MLAs and a dozen Ministers in Yogi’s government are imports from the BSP, SP or Congress, who had worked with the leaders the BJP is most critical of — Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav. It remains to be seen how the BJP will react as problems inevitably surface. It also remains to be seen how the CM’s two deputies share responsibilities, and what mechanism is put in place to ensure coordination between Yogi and the Deputy CMs.

shyamlal.yadav@expressindia.com

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  1. P
    Prashant
    Mar 19, 2017 at 7:02 pm
    Upper caste kurmi(Mauryas) lodh==32% the new vote bank of BJP in bihar,,,,, During Yadav raj,,,from CM to chaukidar,,, everyone was yadav😊,,,,,,,Now in case of SP BSP,,,,bjp will require a 50% vote share to get 60 seats,,,,,,,
    Reply
    1. A
      Amit
      Mar 20, 2017 at 3:11 pm
      Tomorrow this author will ask for reservation for US visas. What a shame
      Reply
      1. S
        Satendra Kumar
        Mar 20, 2017 at 6:17 am
        Yogi Adityanath the sanyasi chief minister will be honoured and respected by all people in the Uttar Pradesh state as a chief minister but also a capable and honest politician for economic social development and welfare for all souls in the state.
        Reply
        1. M
          Manish
          Mar 20, 2017 at 10:52 am
          This will be the golden era in Indian politics.
          Reply
          1. M
            MyTake
            Mar 20, 2017 at 3:01 am
            Another smelly and analysis that caused paralysis who took to their wisdom! lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Another Nehruvian Pandit's war cry!!
            Reply
            1. P
              PPrasad78
              Mar 20, 2017 at 11:20 am
              It is only thru Indian Express that I come to know so much about castes in India !
              Reply
              1. P
                Piyush
                Mar 20, 2017 at 10:58 am
                When will u ever right abt kashmiri pandits or atrocities on Hindus in keral wb....when will the religious freedom of Hindus in this slamic nations will b discussed...when will direct action day atrocities b discussed
                Reply
                1. A
                  akbar khan
                  Mar 22, 2017 at 12:30 am
                  Casteism is the bane of Indian politics. Congress, SP, BSP, had Casteism as its strategy and Corruption as its tactic, BJP trounced both with Good Governance and Unity as its mantra. The people are going to stay with BJP for the next five years at least. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government at the Centre has proved to be clean, efficient, and responsive. Adityanath Yogi's government also has to do just that, nothing fancy. They will amply be backed by the public. The people want Progress, and clean and efficient governance. The days of corrupt politicians banking on graft and caste, are over. Congress, SP, BSP's future is dark as night.
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Arun Murthy
                    Mar 20, 2017 at 8:39 am
                    What other things related to UP will be clified by caste? Height, weight, ...? How far and how long?
                    Reply
                    1. C
                      chodankar
                      Mar 20, 2017 at 3:35 am
                      If your mother happy with cut bullas entering ,who can stop that enjoy .
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        Sriniwasan
                        Mar 20, 2017 at 2:37 am
                        Sickular political parties and journalists sitting in Lutyens Delhi stand exposed of their weird thinking in broad daylight.What a SHAME????
                        Reply
                        1. A
                          Ashok Kumar
                          Mar 22, 2017 at 12:39 am
                          All are Indians first . Religion and caste comes next. What is most important is Development, Economy ,Jobs and Law and Order. PM Modi and CM Yogi will just concentrate on these priorities. People of all sections have voted BJP for development.
                          Reply
                          1. H
                            Himansu Patra
                            Mar 20, 2017 at 4:53 am
                            These type of analysis is of no meaning. Fews days ago you were completely in dark who will be the CM. Now time has come split your ink on Yogi. But yogi is yogi.
                            Reply
                            1. L
                              Lannister
                              Mar 20, 2017 at 10:17 am
                              A perfect article by Indian Express, this is true friends because sach hamesha kadwa hota hain.
                              Reply
                              1. J
                                Junior_butcher
                                Mar 21, 2017 at 1:34 pm
                                verbal diarrhea of sickulars
                                Reply
                                1. J
                                  Jyoti Ranjan Kar
                                  Mar 20, 2017 at 7:25 am
                                  a meaningless article.
                                  Reply
                                  1. K
                                    Kamal
                                    Mar 20, 2017 at 7:24 am
                                    A Yogi or Sanyasi has no caste. But this casteist author does not even understand this basic thing. A Yogi is for the entire mankind provided they are not driven by evil. Because Evil cannot be nurtured ,it has to be destro
                                    Reply
                                    1. K
                                      Kiranprakash Gupta
                                      Mar 20, 2017 at 9:17 am
                                      The slaves of left should learn that in our ancient days DALITS were as respected as others and this proved by the facts BALMIKI is the composer of the epic RAMAYAN. What SHABRI tested was eaten by RAM
                                      Reply
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                                        Lalu
                                        Mar 20, 2017 at 4:07 am
                                        I am happy you are used to the secular smell. Enjoy.
                                        Reply
                                        1. M
                                          Murthy
                                          Mar 20, 2017 at 2:19 am
                                          This is typical of pseudo-seculars, view every election from the caste angle, because that is ONLY way, ALL parties other than the BJP won elections in U.P. and ruled U.P. for decades. With Muslims of U.P. these pseudo-seculars will not tell us how Ashraf, Ajlef, and Archal Muslims and their women voted...... not to mention 'minorities within minorities' voted.... Media and their antics are so tiresome...
                                          Reply
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                                            Lalit Mohan
                                            Mar 21, 2017 at 10:38 am
                                            Oh bhaiya yadav when a pot is filled u can not fill more in it, likewise UP is highly poted state and people are very much jobless hence hatred is definite to happen which is triggering hindus polarization
                                            Reply
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