Decoding Yogic choice
With the choice of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of the most populous State of Uttar Pradesh, the transition in the Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be complete.
With the choice of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of the most populous State of Uttar Pradesh, the transition in the Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be complete. Despite occasional attempts to cover up its politico religious character to embrace development brand, the party cannot resist going back to its roots.
Yogi Adityanath cannot be described as yet another BJP leader. His selection to the top post indicates the hard-line positions within the party gaining further ground despite claims of development politics taking precedence over polarisation politics in party policy. Yogi Adityanath is a brand of most controversial and divisive politics.
The Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the earlier incarnation of saffron brigade was known for unadulterated Hindutva politics. But, they soon realised that majoritarian religious appeal does not catapult them to power in a diverse and complex society where the majority profess religion more as a way of life rather than doctrinal dogma.
The anti emergency struggle came handy for them. The politico religious appeal of the party was subsumed into a broader democratic platform called Janata Party .But, the political pot pourri dissipated giving the BJP a clear advantage as a strong and coherent cadre based political force in the erstwhile Janata parivar.
But, the political mobilisation based on the caste appeal proved to be stronger than the religious appeal in politics. Several other factions of former Janata parivar took myriad shapes to consolidate into regional, political forces often catering to caste sentiments posing a challenge to the BJP. The mandalisation of politics sounded a death knell to a party that wants to rally people on religious basis cutting across caste affiliations.
This led to the mandir movement that galvanised the religious identity politics. The Muslim appeasement politics of so called secular political forces further legitimised the majoritarian religious politics. The struggle for democracy mainstreamed it while the mandir debate made it a force to reckon with.
The advent of coalition era in the fragmented Indian polity coupled with absence of any pan Indian alternative to discredit Congress gave BJP a golden opportunity to assume power in national political corridors. The mukhauta in Vajpayee could project it as an inclusive party. But, the divisive character of the party continued to assert itself time and again with hardliners raising their voices.
Thus, the BJP tried to invent new formula that combines its religious identity politics at its core with outward appeal of development. The brand of Narendra Modi was carefully crafted to suit this new found political form. The BJP officially claimed that the UP mandate is a vote for Modi's development vision. But selection of Yogi Adityanath to be the State Chief Minister repudiates this claim.
But, none can question the BJP's choice as the mandate in fact reflects its consummate caste and religious arithmetic than Modi's chemistry with the people which is evident from the contrasting verdicts in UP and Punjab. Thus, whatever may be the public talk of BJP leaders, the party has rightly chosen the man who truly reflects the character of the popular electoral mandate it received. Will it augur well for the party and the State remains a million dollar question.