The frankness of Yogi Adityanath
Frankness is counted a virtue. It is no wonder, therefore, that Yogi Adityanath, with his unique credentials as religious leader and political leader rolled into one, should possess this virtue among many others. As a result, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh has no qualms about laying bare the mainstays of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s agenda through the projects in his state on a scale and with an aggressiveness that some other BJP chief ministers seem to fall short of. Mr Adityanath’s single-minded pursuit of abattoirs in the name of closing down illegal slaughter houses immediately after he came to power is a case in point. Serving politics and religion together with elan — the Hindutva idea of religion is inextricable from the politics of menace, bloodshed, exclusion and domination — is the UP chief minister’s special gift. His reported encouragement of police encounters with supposedly wanted criminals is as much a part of his inimitable strategy as is his government’s quiet support of cow vigilantism and thrashing of interfaith couples. With two recent projects, the UP government has become even more open about the links in the BJP’s agenda.
One project consists of opening a school for making politicians in Ghaziabad. There are already two institutes for imparting some training to aspirants to a political career in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. One even carries the name of Rajiv Gandhi. Obviously, such institutions would not suit the UP chief minister. The school or college or university for politicians in his state will be more splendid and enriching — knowledge-wise — than any other. Opposition fears that the place will be churning out so-called politicians trained in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh principles and adept at seizing student unions all over the country ‘by hook or by crook’ may be giving the chief minister an extra edge of elation. Alongside this confident taking over of political training, the UP government is now also taking over the funding and management of three traditional religious fairs, previously managed by municipal corporations. The government’s frank occupation of the space of the majority religion during Navratri is intended to consolidate the Hindu vote; why should there be any hide-and-seek about that? Full control over politics and religion is the full form of the BJP’s dream. Secularism? What does that mean?