March 21, 2017

India - 2017 UP Assembly Elections: Hindutva as development campaign (Seema Chishti)

In the UP election campaign, all the things usually used to signal ‘vikas’ — welfare schemes, laptops, housing, jobs — were directly connected with Hindutva

Written by Seema Chishti | The Indian Express, March 21, 2017

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In the post-2014 scenario, the BJP had displayed an easy to predict pattern of selecting a CM after winning state elections. A virtual non-entity, a low-key pracharak, known to be close to Modi in his earlier days, belonging to a caste group neither dominant, nor significant in that particular state, was handpicked. So, you had M.L. Khattar in Haryana, who was not a Jat, Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra, who was not a Maratha, Raghubar Das in Jharkhand, who was not a tribal, all rumoured to run a “WhatsApp sarkar”, operated centrally through the BJP office in Delhi, where ministers were apparently instructed via WhatsApp on the course of action to take.

The selection of Yogi Adityanath, mahant of the Gorakhnath peeth, is a firm break in this three-year tradition. Adityanath has an independent political base and his speeches and actions are bound to have pleased the RSS, but were not run by it. A member of the dominant upper caste in UP, Adityanath’s selection is a clear interpretation of the mandate that Modi wants to give to the UP assembly polls. It is not what the people voted for — in any case, a speculative exercise when no one saw the extent of BJP’s win coming — but it is the interpretation of that result by the BJP’s high command that is significant.
 FULL TEXT AT: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/uttar-pradesh-bjp-hindutva-narendra-modi-yogi-adityanath-chief-minister-4578008/