On God’s gift to Uttar Pradesh

The same TV channels which used to describe him as a mascot of divisive politics, are now bending over backwards to re-invent the Yogi

PTI Photo
PTI Photo
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Priyanka Chaturvedi

Every time Yogi Adityanath made a divisive statement, TV channels would invite me to a debate. And I lost count of the number of times I heard senior BJP leaders and spokespersons distancing themselves from his provocative statements. It was his personal opinion and the party did not endorse it, they would say. They would also denounce the statements at times and say that they were indeed reprehensible.


During the last few days the same set of people, supported by news anchors, have been defending his ‘selection’ as the UP chief minister. The decision was a masterstroke, they suggested, adding that it was like appointing the naughtiest boy in the class, the monitor! By that logic it surely would have been even better if Sakshi Maharaj and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti had been appointed the two Deputy Chief Ministers to give him company in monitoring the state.


The same channels which used to describe him as a mascot of divisive politics, are now bending over backwards re-inventing the Yogi. His hard work, austere living, his love for animals and the environment are the staple of programme after programme. They seem to have suddenly discovered this God’s gift to the people of Uttar Pradesh.


Even more amusing have been attempts in the media to show that while the Yogi may have been abusing the Muslims in public, the minority community has nothing but affection for him. Starting from Muslim employees at the ‘Math’ (it is a Zamindari, not a temple) to Muslims turning to him for redressal of their grievances are cited as redeeming features that, it is suggested, debunk the ‘secular narrative’ that the Yogi has been violently anti-Muslim and anti-Christian.

“Every time Yogi Adityanath made a divisive statement, TV channels would invite me to a debate. And I lost count of the number of times I heard senior BJP leaders and spokespersons distancing themselves from his provocative statements. It was his personal opinion and the party did not endorse it, they would say. They would also denounce the statements at times and say that they were indeed reprehensible.”
Priyanka Chaturvedi

On his website, the Yogi has put down what he believes is women’s role in Indian society. He writes that women need male protection from birth to death and their energy/power should be regulated or controlled or else they would become worthless, even turn destructive. Just for the record, the Yogi also opposed the Women’s Reservation Bill. So, give him a chance, give him time? Really?


Given a chance he wanted to place Ganesh idols in every mosque, those opposed to Surya Namaskar, he declared, should leave India and compared Shahrukh Khan to Hafiz Saeed when the actor complained of growing intolerance.


The God’s gift to UP had written, “In places where there are 10 to 20% minorities, stray communal incidents take place. Where there are 20 to 35% of them, serious communal riots take place and where they are more than 35%, there is no place for non-Muslims.”

“To all those who are now saying give him a chance and make him appear like this misunderstood naughty child who is now the head of the class—to them I would just like to quote William Shakespeare in Macbeth, ‘All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.’”
Priyanka Chaturvedi

It sure is for the BJP to decide who would be the chief minister. But surely others can express their shock, dismay and surprise at the choice? And the opposition would be duty-bound to hold him accountable for the promises the BJP made to the people of UP—namely waiving off farmers’ loans, increasing the MSP for farmers by 50%, women’s safety, improved law and order, development and economic growth for all sections of the society, jobs for all, better educational facilities for the young and so on.


Some news anchors never tired of pointing out that the Yogi is popular because he has been elected five times since 1998 to the Lok Sabha. They need to be reminded that the seat has been mostly held since the 1960s by whoever headed Gorakhpur Peeth, Swami Digvijay Ji followed by Swami Avaidyanath Ji and now by Yogi Adityanath. Why a zamindar, a feudal lord gets elected is something the media could well do some research on.


To all those who are now saying give him a chance and make him appear like this misunderstood naughty child who is now the head of the class—to them I would just like to quote William Shakespeare in Macbeth, 'All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.'


Priyanka Chaturvedi is a columnist, blogger and a national spokesperson of the Congress party.

This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own.

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