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Yogi Adityanath's appointment as Uttar Pradesh CM – could it be another calculated risk by Narendra Modi?
Frankly speaking, when Yogi Adityanath's name was announced as the new CM of UP by BJP MLAs unanimously, I was very surprised. I had never ever expected that the Yogi could become the Chief Minister of UP.

Many say that it he was the RSS's choice. But, I don't think so. Rajnath Singh was the prime candidate who had been endorsed by the RSS, followed closely by Uma Bharati and Keshav Prasad Maurya. YogiAdityanath is neither a member of the RSS nor a pracharak. In fact, during his college days, he was even denied a ticket by ABVP.

Many say that Yogi Adityanath has been selected owing to his popularity among all the castes. But is popularity really the only criteria? I don't think even ML Khattar was selected as the CM of Haryana purely because of his popularity, as many didn't even know who Khattar was until then. I seriously doubt that the Yogi had backing of the RSS, because RSS's first choice in Maharashtra had been Nitin Gadkari, but Devendra Fadnavish was selected over him as the CM of Maharashtra. If we closely observe the choice of CM candidates in Haryana, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, it doesn't seem that RSS had any role to play in it. On the contrary, proximity and trust of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah appear to be the main criteria.

However, if Adityanath was the preferred candidate of Modi and Shah, then why were his followers denied party tickets? There was nearly a rebellion in eastern UP which Adityanath was able to douse. Thus, it's really very difficult to unearth or pinpoint the exact reason behind Adityanath's selection. Some columnists have written that from the very beginning both Rajnath Singh and Yogi Adityanath were top contenders for the UP Chief Minister's position. And just because Rajnath did not want to go back to state politics, Yogi Adityanath was selected.

At times a huge mandate results into the problem of plenty. Perhaps that's why Yogi Adityanath might have been selected, considering the fact that he would easily be able to manage BJPs 312 MLAs in the state, keeping them united. Whatever might be the reason, but Yogi is now the new CM of Uttar Pradesh.

But the question is, whether he is the right candidate or not? No doubt, he has long history of blurting out controversial remarks behind him which were not only in bad taste but also communal to their very core. He might be popular in Gorakhpur or in UP, but in the rest of India, the general perception about his personality and traits is very different.

A friend of mine reminded me, that in 2002, even I thought of Narendra Modi as a communal politician who deserved to be kicked out of the CM's chair of Gujarat. However, by 2007 my perception about Modi totally changed after I saw his commitment towards development and non-indulgence in communal politics. By that time, Modi had already sidelined Right-leaning leaders like VHP's Paravin Togadia and RSS's Sanjay Joshi.

Is Yogi Adityanath another Modi in the making? And supposedly, if he proves to be another Modi in the making, will he be a threat to PM Modi's prospects for retaining power in the 2019 general election? The point to be noted here is that Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA was completely routed in the 2004 general election and most had argued at that time that the main reason behind his loss was the non-removal of Modi as the CM of Gujarat post 2002 Godhra riots.

Only time will tell whether this gamble or probably a calculated risk taken by Modi and Shah benefit them in the long run or backfire in the 2019 general election. Albeit, I still think that Rajnath Singh would have been a much better choice.

In the meantime, many people have started fuelling fears amongst the minority communities in the name of Yogi Adityanath and his designs of creating a probable Hindu Rashtra. Then, there are also a few Muslim scholars who have clearly cited that there has been sidelining of the Muslim community due to blatant appeasement politics. The Indian secular industry has always tried to polarise the Muslim community for their benefit and this has resulted in to the majority community's counter polarisation.

In this appeasement politics, it is the political class that always benefits, however, the community never benefits, rather it becomes politicised. The Muslim community was politically enslaved with an indirect fatwa: 'not to vote for BJP'. There are also other minority communities in UP which form miniscule percentages of the state's population but have never allowed themselves to be used as mere political tools like the Muslims. That's why many Islamic scholars suggest that the Muslim community should remain apolitical. A few of them have even asked political parties not to consider the community as their vote bank.

With Yogi Adityanath as the CM, I think there will be lot of debate and social churning on appeasement politics and polarisation. But the Yogi needs to behave as a statesman, completely forgetting what he was doing or speaking while he was not occupying the chair of the chief office bearer of the state. If he uses his authority to discriminate and harass the Muslim community as vendetta politics, I simply assure that this would be the Saffron Party's last stint in UP as well as at the Centre. I seriously hope Narendra Modi knows what he is doing and such instructions on playing sane politics have already been passed over to Yogi Adityanath.

Another friend told me, "Don't go by the Yogi's saffron attire." Neither BJP nor the Yogi need to be apologetic about the saffron attire. Although most are smiling at the first saffron clad CM they can recall, but as a long observer, I know that Yogi is the third such CM to wear saffron clothing. The first was NT Rama Rao in Andhra Pradesh, second was Uma Bharati in MP and now Yogi Adityanath in UP. I never thought that attire had anything to do with the intentions of an individual nor the attire can be classified on the basis of being secular or communal. I have seen many self-proclaimed secularists wearing skull caps at iftar parties. I have also seen Mamata Bannerjee observing namaz. To me all these characters indulging in tokenism are no less communal.

Let's see how the gamble called Yogi Adityanath does for Narendra Modi and the BJP in the times to come.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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