LUCKNOW: With the anointment of Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister, a new power game comes into play in Uttar Pradesh. In the Assembly polls this time, the post-demonetisation Modi magic had sidelined developmental issues. Little progress has been made on schemes such as roads, agriculture and railways. With Adityanath at the helm in the state when the next Lok Sabha elections fall due in 2019, the BJP hopes the Hindutva factor will help it retain most of its 71 MPs, or even better the figure.
After Gujarat, UP is the next laboratory for the RSS, which approves of Adityanath wholeheartedly. In the context of the changed demographics in Western UP, where the Muslim population has burgeoned, Yogi Adityanath’s clout in the east along with the Hindutva counter-effect in neighbouring states such as Bihar will give the party a leg-up. As far as Yogi is concerned, being chief minister will enable him to put his fiefdom of Purvanchal on the development map by working closely with Delhi.
The Modi-Adityanath combination as a single powerful image to capture UP in 2019 will benefit both parties. Adityanath’s Hindutva agenda will obscure any development concerns and push forward the BJP’s poll chariot from Gorakhpur through Ayodhya to Delhi.
It’s his chance to consolidate his grip on the backward Purvanchal region. Eastern UP has been languishing on the growth index though the Mahant’s charisma remains unaffected. When Modi visited the Yogi at his math late last year, he had cleared the setting up of a new AIIMS for Gorakhpur, a fertiliser project and many road projects.
Numerous sugar factories of eastern UP had been lying idle for many years because of the focus on Western UP by Mayawati and Akhilesh.
If Yogi revives the sugar belt, it will add to his lustre. Because Purvanchal is close to Nepal, there is no infrastructure to stop flooding. This is a challenge Adityanath has to meet.
In 2019, the Opposition is envisaging a grand alliance against the BJP in the North, including UP. Adityanath is seen as the BJP’s best bet to prevent the fragmentation of the Hindu vote in the manner the Modi magic had in UP this time.
Besides, of the 312 MLAs in the BJP, 165 are either Brahmins or Thakurs. Yogi power has the mojo to keep all castes, including OBCs, in check. For this, he will have the help of OBC leader BP Maurya and Brahmin leader Dinesh Sharma-both deputy CMs.