“Gorakhpur me rahna hai to Yogi-Yogi kahna hoga”
The election campaign of BJP had a completely different tone this time in Gorakhpur; it wasn’t the slogan of ‘Vikas’ but an ultimatum “if you want to live in Gorakhpur, you will have to chant ‘yogi-yogi’ ”
And now this slogan has spread over India’s biggest state, Uttar Pradesh.
Gorakhpur, the district named after an ancient Hindu mystic mutt ‘Gorakhnath’ is the home town of newly selected Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. ‘Gorkhnath’ as it is said was the spiritual center of Nathpanthis; originally yogis or mystics, mostly Dalits and even few Muslims, who, naturally had nothing to do with politics or even wider society. Then came Mahanta or guardian of mutt, Digvijay Nath, one of the founding members of Hindu Mahasabha, and things started to change. His name came up during the investigation of assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Yogi Adityanath is the one following the same line of successive chiefs of the mutt.
Yogi Adityanath, a science graduate from HNB Garhwal University, was born as Ajay Singh Bisht in a Shaktriya family of, what is now called Uttarakhand in 1972. Adityanath, most famous for his polarizing statements, firebrand hate speeches against Muslims and Christians and ‘Hindutva politics’ was once the youngest member of lok Sabha, elected first time in 1998. He was only 26.
Yogi Adityanath’s selection by BJP as CM of Up is not surprising looking at his political career and BJP’s policy to play ‘Strong Personality’ game in national elections. Yogi is five time MP from Gorakhpur constituency since 1998 without any break.
Yogi has been in news for his divisive activities such as ‘purification drive’ to re-convert the Christians to Hinduism in 2005, for inciting communal riots in Gorakhpur in 2007, etc. It is said that minorities of the village leave their houses when Yogi is about to visit one.
He founded Hindu Yuwa Vahini, his own personal army of youth, which is notorious for inciting communal violence and use of strong-arm during campaigns such as cow-protection drives and against hypothetical love-jihad. Hindu Yuwa Vahini is also accused of 2005 Mau riots. HYV is functional in several districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP has decided to put two deputy chief ministers along with Yogi Adityanath. Keshav Prasad Maurya, BJP state chief and Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma will assist him. The reason from BJP for this is UP being big state but it is obvious that it is to regulate and advise the fiery, inflammatory spokes person of Hindutva politics.
Yogi has several criminal charges against him. He has been charged with rioting, attempt to murder with deadly weapon, criminal intimidation, sabotaging places of worship, endangering life or personal safety of others, few to name.
This is also clear that BJP has taken this move keeping in mind the upcoming 2019 national elections. BJP has a good hope with this announcement about the solidification of ‘hindutva’ politics in Uttar Pradesh under the new Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath.
And it is not without reason.