When the BJP secured majority in the 2017 state assembly elections, no one was surprised. It was normal, and everyone (including the right wingers) assumed that BJP would elect yet another person with a clean track record whose agenda would be “development” instead of communal appeasement. Surprisingly, however, they elected Yogi Adityanath to be the Chief Minister. Let’s try and analyse what that move really implies.
For those of you who don’t understand politics, here’s a quick recap of what’s happening: BJP, ever since they came to power, have been trying, as part of their PR strategy, to shirk off their “Hindutva” agenda and replace it with a “development” agenda. That was Modi’s campaign even before he became the PM, because the tactical genius knew that just Hindutva wouldn’t secure the youth majority vote.
Most apologists have been using the argument “give him a chance”. Well, there really isn’t a choice anymore. Even the people who voted for BJP feel cheated. The argument is flawed; if a convicted murderer asked to give your child tuition classes, chances are that you’ll get scared and outraged before “giving him a chance”.
And if you’re wondering, “Why this outrage? How does this affect us?”, take a look at his track record.
5 things that Uttar Pradesh’s new Chief Minister has done in the past:
1. Led a ‘purification drive’, converting 1,800 Christians to Hinduism. Was jailed after his followers set fire to a Mazar, riots following his arrest included burning of mosques, homes, vehicles and a sneaky transfer of the local police chief.
2. Given many blatantly misogynistic statements. He believes that women should not be free or independent, and need a man to take care of them, and that only “controlled’ woman power will lead to birth of great men. While speaking about reservation for women, he said, “We must assess whether this process interferes with their role as mother, daughter and sister.”
3. Has other charges against him, including:
– Defiling a place of worship.
– Attempt to murder.
– Destroying a landmark by fire or explosives.
– Criminal intimidation.
– Promoting enmity between different groups.
4. Hate speech:
– Promised revenge killing, that if one of “ours” is killed, we’ll kill 10 of “theirs”.
– Implied that Shah Rukh Khan is similar to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed.
– In a public event, a follower in his presence urged people to rape corpses of dead Muslim women.
– After talking about how Hindus and Muslims can’t co-exist, he promised that he won’t stop until he turns the country into a Hindu rashtra. Leader of our biggest state, guys.
– In all seriousness said that those who want to avoid Yoga should leave ‘Hindustan’. And you thought your gym trainer was bad!
5. Addresses himself in third person. Sorry, but I can’t trust anyone who takes himself that seriously.
The reality though, is no laughing matter. The worrying thing is this: Yogi Adityanath stood out from the development agenda, so much so that even BJP representatives have, in the recent past, clarified that his thought’s don’t represent Modi’s thoughts. The Yogi himself has criticised the party on many occasions for abandoning the Hindutva agenda.
This basically means that choosing him to lead the largest and most populated state in our country is a clear indication of our nation’s ruling party’s priority. The “development” masks are emphatically off. They have, without any subtlety, chosen a confidently communal leader. This, one may argue, is the first step in a series of painful steps that reveal their Hindutva agenda.
This move sets our country’s social development back many years. Now, that we’ve discussed all the nuances behind this move, let’s get practical.
What can we do?
Do we rally cries of #NotMyCM like the US did for Trump? Do we go on a protest march? Do we riot? No. We get educated, stay informed, and VOTE.
If you’ve done that, there’s more. You now have to do the job the Congress has failed to do since years – be a good Opposition. Don’t merely say “We don’t have a choice”. Be a loud watchdog of all his politics. Yogi Adityanath is a servant. Your taxes pay for him and his actions. Make him accountable for them. Remember how Trump was extreme before his election and then was forced to become moderate after the brutal public reaction? That’s the best we can hope for.
There have been many eloquent hateful men who can rile up the masses, but their biggest enemy has always been education and awareness. So get your magnifying glasses, pens and keyboards out and analyse every move to ensure that Yogi Adityanath remains in check and is forced to abandon his extreme policies in fear of YOUR opinion.
India is the biggest democracy in the world, and you always have a choice. Your voice is your choice.
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