Karnataka: Yogi Adityanath as BJP ‘star campaigner’ invites ridicule

The decision by the BJP to make UP CM Yogi Adityanath as a star campaigner ahead of next month’s state elections in Karnataka is drawing rebuke from election observers and political rivals

Photo by Saikat Paul/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Saikat Paul/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

NH Web Desk

The decision by the Bharatiya Janata Party to include Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as a star campaigner for next month’s state elections in Karnataka is drawing rebuke and ridicule from election observers and political rivals.

Leading the pack of critics was Karnataka’s Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who stated that the move reflected the absence of strong BJP local leadership in Karnataka. Others predicted that Adityanath’s campaign would prove to be another damp squib, as the firebrand chief minister had failed to protect BJP’s bastion of Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha by-elections in March. Political observer Arun Giri tweeted that Adityanath’s foray into Karnataka election scene would benefit Congress, terming Yogi as a “star campaigner” for the Congress party.

Here are some of the reactions:

Yogi Adityanath’s forgettable campaign forays in the southern states

Adityanath is scheduled to hold around 35 rallies and road shows in the southern state, most of them scheduled to take place in the communally sensitive districts of coastal Karnataka—Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Dakshin Kannada.

However, Adityanath’s forays into the south for campaigning have not been particularly successful, and people have not taken kindly to his comments on poor development in southern states like Kerala and Karnataka, which fare much better on social development indicators than Uttar Pradesh. When he visited Karnataka earlier this year in January, Siddaramaiah had attacked him, saying “I welcome UP CM Shri Yogi Adityanath to our state. There is a lot you can learn from us Sir. When you are here please visit a Indira Canteen and a ration shop. It will help you address the starvation deaths sometimes reported from your state.”

Siddaramaiah also had a stinging comment for Yogi Adityanath after the BJP’s bypoll loss to Samajwadi Party in the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat in March, saying “Perhaps Yogi Adityanath should spend less time lecturing Karnataka on development”. Gorakhpur has been held by the BJP for seven straight Lok Sabha polls and is Adityanath’s bastion, who was the MP for five of those seven terms.

In Kerala last year, Adityanath became the butt of jokes after commenting at a public function that Kerala should learn to run hospitals from Uttar Pradesh. Incidentally, UP authorities were receiving fire at the time for the deaths of children due to oxygen shortage at a government hospital in Gorakhpur. "It really amuses me that you (Yogi Adityanath) found time for Kerala, despite the fact that a large number of problems exist in UP as per newspaper reports," Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had retorted at the time.

Just two days ago, on April 23, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had said that states in India's southern and western region were growing rapidly, but included Uttar Pradesh among those states that were keeping the country backward.

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