The club of bachelor chief ministers in the country has just expanded with priest-turned politician Yogi Adityanath, 44, being sworn in as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He now joins Trivendra Singh Rawat, 56, (Uttarakhand), M L Khattar, 62 ,(Haryana), Sarbananda Sonowal, 54, (Assam) and 70-year-old BJD chief Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) in the league of singletons running state governments.
Adityanath, the controversial mascot of hardline Hindutva, is also the first male bachelor chief minister of the country’s most populous state. And by coincidence barring Patnaik and 62-year-old TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), all the chief ministers, who are unencumbered by a family, are from the BJP. Rawat was sworn in yesterday and like Khattar is a former RSS pracharak.
Refusing to accept defeat after numerous failures in her quest to dethrone Left front rule in West Bengal, Mamata, a spinster, rose like a phoenix and finally succeeded in unseating the Left Front government in 2011. She is currently serving her second term. The firebrand TMC leader often claimed in her public meetings that she has dedicated her entire life to the people of West Bengal and has no time for thinking about herself.
Among the current crop of top politicians, Rahul Gandhi, 46, the scion of the Congress party, BSP chief Mayawati, 61, and senior BJP leader Uma Bharti, 57, are unmarried. Rahul when asked about his singlehood ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls had replied, “Right now I am engaged in fighting the elections. Unfortunately, I have not been focused on private life”. “Is it two years from now, one year from now?” he was asked. “When I find the right girl,” Gandhi responded. “That means you have not found the right girl?” the reporter asked. “When I find the right girl,” Gandhi said again, “I will get married.”
Singlehood can even become an article of pride for politicians.
“I’m of low caste, I’m unmarried, and I’m yours,” Mayawati has often proclaimed in her election rallies.
Naveen Patnaik, who is CM of Odisha since 2000, is also known for telling his electorate that unlike the Congress family, there is no danger of his government indulging in family rule as he himself is unmarried and has no family.
Like many RSS activists, Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the ideological fountainhead of the BJP, decided against tying the knot. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a BJP stalwart, never married. He used to underline his bachelor status in public meetings saying that since he has no family, there is no question of nepotism or family rule. He became the Prime Minister of the country thrice.
Undoubtedly the most notable among all unmarried public figures was Dr APJ Abdul Kalam – a scientist who served as the country’s 11th President. He died at the age of 83 in 2015. Best known as the ‘Missile Man of India’, Dr Kalam’s affection for space science overstepped the desire of walking on the marital landscape.
Another top political figure J Jayalalithaa, the late chief minister of Tamil Nadu, was a spinster. She died in December last year at the age of 68.