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Modi has put India's future in danger by giving authority to Yogi Adityanath

Apoorva Pathak
Apoorva PathakMar 20, 2017 | 14:35

Modi has put India's future in danger by giving authority to Yogi Adityanath

The BJP's decisive win of UP took many, including me, by surprise. Yet, no surprise comes close to the culmination of the long drawn suspense over who will become the state's CM in the light of the party's comprehensive sweep.

Controversy's favorite child Yogi Adityanath, hitherto dismissed as the Hindu fringe of the BJP, was elected by BJP legislatives with approval from central leadership. The decision to hand Adityanath the responsibility of the state with one sixth of India's population has been received with much shock and concern at many levels:

Embrace of divisive and communal politics

Adityanath is famous for spewing vitriol. His whole politics is based on religious discord. To get a glimpse of this, let's go through some of his statements:

1) June 2016: When the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya could not stop, who can stop the construction of a temple?

2) June 2015: Those who are opposed to yoga must leave the country. Those who do not observe the sun salutation should be immersed in the sea.

3) August 2015: The increasing population of Muslims is a dangerous trend, it is a concern; the central government should take steps to reduce the Muslim population.

4) August 2014: A video surfaced of the Yogi telling his supporters that "we have decided if they make one Hindu girl convert, we shall convert 100 Muslim girls".

So the BJP has chosen as the most powerful CM of India a man who has left no stone unturned to create hatred against the minorities. It has decided to stake its political capital on Adityanath. He thrives on exploiting majoritarian anxiety and frustration.

As such, BJP did not give any ticket to Muslim candidates during the state election and has now chosen as CM of crores of Muslims a man who has waged a campaign against them - from Love Jihad to the hate-mongering around the Kairana exodus to stoking division even over "shamshaan".

This is bound to send out disturbing signal to minorities, a message that in the new order of things they will be excluded from the corridors of power and those who foment hate and fear against the minorities will now control the instruments of state to further their agenda. 

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The brief struggle over whether to make the Yogi the CM was in fact a struggle over what BJP as a party wants to be. It's sad that it didn't take much time in deciding to embrace the politics of hate, fear and intimidation.

BJP may not realise it but it is a dangerous game it is playing - the controlled fuelling of discord may not be as controllable as it thinks. Also, Adityanath has a record of politics of hate and fear, so it is naive to buy the argument that he must be given time before being judged. And no, his sins don't become less disturbing by citing the failures of secularism.

Undermine development focus

Adityanath, while excelling in divisive and emotive rhetoric, has little to offer in terms of governance record. While his leading rival Manoj Sinha had studied from IIT BHU, had an admirable track record and avoided controversies, Yogi has no previous ministerial experience. How appropriate is it for a party that claims to champion development to make a man with no experience of governance the CM of India's most populous state?

Also, his frequent provocations are likely to divert the narrative away from development towards divisive issues.

Moreover, Adityanath as CM sends the wrong message to investors. Investors, especially international ones, are bound to question the sincerity of the Modi regime over development. It's obvious that social peace and harmony is the basic prerequisite for development.

BJP has reneged, at least partially, on its promise to provide UP with clean politics. Instead of going for people with a spotless record, Modi has chosen as CM and deputy CM Adityanath and Keshav Maurya, both of whom have serious criminal charges against them.

When the CM himself is a person of criminal record, how can the police act freely and fairly against criminals?

Setback for modern and progressive India

Adityanath's primitive kind of politics puts at danger the rise of a modern India. In Adityanth's polity, the concept of free individuals making choices for themselves is hard to find - instead we are all reduced to our identity groups. He is someone who supports the caste system and leads a patriarchal sect.

Dilutes the separation of religion and state

The separation of religion and state has been a vital part of modern democracies. But in making Adityanath the CM, that line has been blurred. Adityanath is among the rare individuals in history who heads both a religious sect and now also a state government.

Truth be told - the brief struggle over whether to make the Yogi the CM was in fact a struggle over what BJP as a party wants to be.

It's sad that it didn't take much time in deciding to embrace the sectarian politics of hate, fear and intimidation.

We stand at an important inflexion point in the life of the republic; the regime has dropped its mask of development and given away the lie to the fringe element theory.

Extremist hate-peddling Hindutva is not the fringe - it's the official essential core now.

Last updated: March 20, 2017 | 15:26
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