Is Yogi trying to hog all credit for BJP’s performance in Karnataka?

Even before the Karnataka state assembly results were declared, stories were systematically planted in certain media houses hailing Adityanath’s whirlwind tours across the southern state

Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sharat Pradhan

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s propaganda machinery is working overtime to spread the word that he had a huge role in taking the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to the position of single largest party in Karnataka.

Even before the Karnataka state assembly results were out, stories were systematically planted in certain media houses highlighting and hailing Adityanath’s whirlwind tours across the length and breadth of the key southern state, where finally BJP was unable to form the government after the poll ended in a hung verdict.

The UP CM undertook a hectic six-day campaign in Karnataka, where he addressed rallies in 33 of the 224 assembly constituencies. However, contrary to BJP claims about the party having performed “exceedingly well” in each of the constituencies visited by him, the fact remains that the party won in only 13 constituencies visited by him. How is that a “commendable” performance, one is yet to understand.

The PR boys of Yogi Adityanath left no stone unturned to describe him as BJP’s ‘star campaigner’, every time he was meant to campaign for the party in different states. And even before the Karnataka results were declared, his publicity machinery made it a point to credit Adityanath for the better performance of BJP. Often the local media overflows with stories giving him even greater credit than Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the BJP’s election results

While there can be no denying Narendra Modi virtually runs a one-man army and bulk of the vote goes to his persona than to BJP, yet Adityanath gets high ratings simply because the Sangh Parivar wants everyone to believe that polarisation of Hindus was responsible for BJP’s success after success at the hustings. What they seem to even underrate in the bargain is Modi’s high-pitch rhetoric on raising the aspirations of the people by talking “development.”

Going by TV clips of Adityanath’s campaigns in different states including Gujarat, Kerala or Karnataka, it was quite evident that he was no crowd puller in any place. More often than not, he was seen waving at extremely thin crowds during his road shows.

What goes without saying is that his entire focus during the campaigns is on paving the way for Hindu polarisation. In Karnataka, he did have the advantage of a captive audience in certain places where the ‘Nath’ sect, to which he owes his spiritual lineage, has a large following. As head of the Gorakhnath temple, he commands undisputed religious following that always comes to give him a political boost. He, therefore, made it a point to pay visits to religious ‘mutts’ all over Karnataka, a truly skillful technique to use religion in politics.

Often, he goes overboard while making tall claims about his “good governance” in Uttar Pradesh, where his 14-month rule has failed to display any semblance of change from the times of a discredited Akhilesh Yadav regime. Heinous crimes against women, particularly rapes, continue unabated while murders, loot, rioting and communal violence are on the rise. And far from giving any brownie points, the much-hyped encounters undertaken by the UP police have added to the infamy of the Yogi government.

The manner in which several innocents have been gunned down in the counters speak volumes of the publicity-oriented exercise. Significantly, the National Human Rights Commission has already instituted a probe into as many as 16 of the 45 encounters in which “bounty-carrying” criminals were stated to have been shot down. It was soon discovered that in some cases, the bounty was declared barely a few days before the so-called criminal was gunned down.

Unfazed by these exposes, the UP chief minister does not hesitate one bit to go about beating his own trumpet and claiming that he has changed Uttar Pradesh for the better. In the beginning, he was taken quite seriously, but as time went by, people began to see through his tall proclamations. And that is precisely why his loud claims on Karnataka were also not being taken without a heavy pinch of salt.

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