At a BBC interview recently the correspondent was asking about the Uttar Pradesh mandate and the choice of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister. This has been talk of the town among the so-called liberal intelligentsia in the last few days. The questions naturally ranged from the controversial statements in the past attributed to Yogi to the Ram Janmabhoomi to anti-Romeo squads etc.
There may be certain reasons for these questions being asked and Yogi will have to respond to them through his actions as the Chief Minister. Those who know him will vouch for the fact that contrary to the stereotype image that Yogi enjoys especially in the hostile media, he is a quintessential politician known for his work among the masses without any discrimination or ill-will. He has been a Member of Parliament for the last five terms from Gorakhpur, a border town on Indo-Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh.
The Gorakhnath Peeth, which he heads, is a prominent Hindu shrine and institution with a millennia old history of serving the community in India as well as Nepal. The institution houses many activities including a famous temple. The place is known for its catholicity and religious grandeur providing livelihood to thousands including people of non-Hindu religions as well.
As the head of one of the prominent Hindu institutions that has been closely associated with movements like Goraksha (Cow protection), Ghar Wapsi, (Reconversion) and Ram Janmabhoomi, Yogi has inevitably been at the receiving end of a section of the overzealous liberal media establishment. The association of the institution with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for a very long time and the association between the royal family of Nepal and the institution have also been unbearable for the liberal elite of the Lutyen’s Delhi.
Nobody, except Yogi himself, can explain away the kind of utterances attributed to him. In the erstwhile utterly lawless and superly surcharged lands of eastern Uttar Pradesh, many acts and deeds, undertaken out of sheer necessity of protecting the good also have the potential of becoming controversial. Additionally our intelligentsia has mastered the art of twisting and quoting out-of-context the statements of leaders like Yogi. His innumerable speeches, Parliamentary interventions and public utterances in the course of last many years exhorting the people of the country to be united, work for the country and culture etc are simply brushed under the carpet, and what are pulled out of the closet are a couple of statements that seem to have controversial overtones.
This they do, not just to Yogi, but everyone they dislike. Their dislike can be a product of many things, including the saffron attire of Yogi. They don the mantle of pseudo-moral superiority and assume self-proclaimed authority to sit over judgement on everybody and everything.
Tragedy is, this time round they find their breed fast diminishing and their influence waning greatly. They were expecting that the Uttar Pradesh results would throw up a hung Assembly and they would somehow manage to see that the BJP is kept away from power. But the results proved otherwise giving a shock for their lifetime. The magnitude of BJP’s victory was enormous. On the back of it came Yogi’s elevation as the Chief Minister. It has become too unbearable for them. Thus they turn to abuses.
That Yogi is a popular leader elected five times from his constituency is inconsequential for them. That not a single charge against Yogi has been conclusively proved in court of law is also immaterial. ‘Even if he has not made any incendiary statements, but some person has made them from the same dais and Yogi didn’t protest’, thus goes their goal-shifting argument.
In fact one correspondent argued with me about a statement on conversions attributed to Yogi. ‘If one Hindu is converted to Islam, we will convert 100 Muslims to Hinduism’, Yogi is accused of having said. Whether he had said so or not could be confirmed by Yogi alone. But I asked the correspondent as to what was the incendiary part of that statement! If conversion from one religion to another is right, how can conversion the other way be wrong? He said, ‘how can he say hundred for one’? So the great liberal argument is all about ‘Arithmetic’, not about any ‘Principle’! If conversions are right, reconversions also should be deemed right.
Yogi’s detractors are the same ones who raised the bogey of ‘minorities in danger’ when Modi became the Prime Minister. They were hoping against hope that there would be communal riots all over the country and they could earn their bread and butter out of the communal cauldron. But PM Modi dashed their hopes to the ground. Last two and a half years have seen absolute communal harmony in the country. Barring few sporadic incidents of communal tensions the country largely remained peaceful and harmonious.
Now they are again hoping that under Yogi-Raj there would be communal clashes in Uttar Pradesh and they could prove their point. What they forget is that the agenda for the country has been set by PM Modi and all the BJP-ruled states are an integral part of Modi’s vision and mission. Whether it is Trivendra in Uttarakhand or Birendra in Manipur or Yogindra in Uttar Pradesh, all will follow the footsteps of Narendra in Delhi, with singular focus on a transparent and development-focused government committed to social good, communal harmony and development of all.
(The writer is Director of India Foundation and National General Secretary of the BJP)
The article was published in Organiser, April 2, 2017 issue.