MoSha Know Yogi Is His Own Master

In the recent past, Adityanath and the RSS seem to have come closer.
The warmth is more on the part of the RSS.
And even now, not all requests from the RSS are accommodated by the UP government, points out Aditi Phadnis.

The result of the Ghosi assembly by-election last month had the INDIA alliance smirking in triumph.

The seat was won by Samajwadi Party candidate Sudhakar Singh, a Thakur.

The by-election was caused by the resignation of sitting MLA, Dara Singh Chauhan, an OBC leader who quit the SP and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, contesting as its candidate after being endorsed by New Delhi.

Most analysts felt voters had punished Mr Chauhan, a habitual party-hopper who had been dealt his just deserts.

But Sudhakar Singh got by with a little help — from friends and enemies alike.

The way Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s detractors tell the story (and, yes, he does have detractors), three things did the BJP in.

One, local Bahujan Samaj Party strongman, contractor and businessman Thakur Umashankar Singh, persuaded the BSP not to put up a candidate against Sudhakar Singh and punish Mr Chauhan by avenging his ‘betrayal’.

Mr Chauhan had been in the BSP and had represented the Ghosi seat in the 15th Lok Sabha as the party candidate only to cross the floor later.

Mayawati never forgave him. So a majority of the Dalit votes went to Sudhakar Singh.

And, of course, Sudhakar Singh had the support of the local Thakurs, who wanted to make sure Chauhan, from a backward caste, was defeated.

Muslims came out in large numbers to vote for the SP, which is hardly surprising. But the real support came from the BJP itself.

“The Pradhan Kshatriya threw his weight behind Sudhakar Singh to show Delhi who the boss in UP really is,” said a party functionary.

He was referring to Yogi Adityanath.

Why this brouhaha over an assembly by-election, you might ask. But this is dynamic politics at play where losers (the BJP) can also be winners (the chief minister).

Even his critics agree that under Yogi Adityanath, organised crime has taken a beating in UP.

True, there is still rape, theft, and murder. But kidnapping, extortion, and encroachment have come down significantly.

The mafia in UP was largely an enterprise of small-time local strongmen who cornered government contracts, built substandard facilities, and got rich, reinvesting their profits to grow their ‘business’.

Many got a Robin Hood image and joined politics.

Under Adityanath, their empires were systematically razed to the ground.

In this, the chief minister was religion-agnostic.

When people saw the bungalows of the rich and powerful being demolished, they felt a perverse sense of empowerment. His stock soared.

But this also meant bureaucrats, policemen, and lower-level party workers now knew how to catch the attention of the chief minister.

At the lower levels of the administration, the threat of the bulldozer is the currency of power — and corruption.

Because Adityanath has got a grip on the bureaucracy, those officers close to him wield enormous clout — and they know this.

This creates a degree of resentment among the others.

But Adityanath has shown he is no slouch when it comes to administration.

The central government’s welfare schemes are being rolled out flawlessly (the free foodgrain scheme is in fact leading to grain being sold in the secondary market).

Investment is flowing into UP and the administration is responsive to demands.

Take the example of the government’s push for data centres.

An investor pointed out during the UP Investment Summit earlier this year that construction bylaws in the state did not permit windowless buildings.

The provision was amended in a matter of days.

Welfare schemes in small towns and villages represent work for the local unemployed.

Data is meagre but maybe this is what has persuaded migrant labour to stay back home instead of returning to city jobs.

It was Akhilesh Yadav who started many infrastructure projects in UP.

Adityanath has taken the ball and run with it.

Of course, there have been bloopers like the 2022 $42 billion MoU with US-based ‘Austin University’, which, the UP government had to later clarify, was actually with the Austin Consulting Group, after the US flagged the issue, warning there was no such university and no students.

But by and large, the Adityanath government is trying to get a strategy in place for development.

The creation of the Bundelkhand Industrial Development Authority last month, along the lines of Noida, is expected to revive one of UP’s most backward areas. There are a host of other such initiatives.

Politically, the chief minister has few adversaries. Originally, the Gorakhpur monastery was controlled by the Hindu Mahasabha.

Its previous two mahants — Digvijaynath and Awaidyanath — were not part of the Jana Sangh/BJP’s political scheme in Gorakhpur.

In the years that he controlled the monastery, Adityanath rarely, if ever, called on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, though the two organisations shared a common compound wall.

He ran Gorakhpur via the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a force which has now been absorbed by the UP administration.

It was with the Ramjanmabhoomi movement that the monastery inched closer to the BJP, but, even then, not to the RSS.

In the recent past, especially since 2017, Adityanath and the RSS seem to have come closer.

The warmth is more on the part of the RSS. And even now, not all requests from the RSS are accommodated by the UP government.

Adityanath is his own master. The Ghosi by-election is a demonstration. Who knows what lies ahead!

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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