March 20, 2017

India: When the saints go marching in – Yogi Adityanath is anointed UP CM

The Times of India

Radical turn: When the saints go marching in – Yogi Adityanath is anointed UP CM

March 20, 2017, 2:08 am IST in TOI Editorials
In its choice of Trivendra Singh Rawat as Uttarakhand’s chief minister, BJP has by all accounts, opted for a steady hand. The same cannot be said, however, for its choice of Yogi Adityanath to head the vast and populous state of UP – this looks more like a gamble.
Adityanath is a cleric and a radical with little administrative experience; he is best known for inflammatory rhetoric targeting Muslims or anyone who disagrees with his scheme of ‘Hindu rashtra’. It is unknown to what degree he agrees with the constitutional order of the Indian republic when anything less than full compliance will not do for his current job.
Adityanath has, for example, several cases of rioting against him when BJP won its massive mandate on the promise of restoring law and order. Its other promise was that of sabka saath, sabka vikas.
But it’s also unknown to what extent the UP chief minister shares this vision when his main political preoccupations so far appear to have been Ram mandir, cow protection and the mythical love jihad.
Indeed the law and order and sabka saath, sabka vikas planks are interrelated. It is impossible to have all-round development without social stability, and it is impossible to have social stability in a situation of endemic riots.
Perhaps to rein in the UP CM and check his worst instincts BJP has taken the unprecedented step of appointing two deputy CMs: state BJP chief Keshav Maurya and Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma. Among them Maurya will apparently be “senior”. But this arrangement could be an unwieldy structure for governance.
After BJP’s massive victory in UP, the party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are being seen as shoo-ins for Lok Sabha elections in 2019. By the same token, however, misgovernance in UP could cost BJP nationally.