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With Poor Report Card, Yogi Adityanath Banks On Polarisation To Win Next Term

Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

NEW DELHI—Come elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has embarked on a journey to polarize society to deflect the attention from his failures.

The latest barb is ‘Abba Jaan’ to target Muslims. A cleverly crafted word is aimed at Muslims who lovingly call their father or grandfather `Abba Jaan’.

“Under PM Modi’s leadership, there is no place for appeasement politics… Before 2017 was everyone able to get ration? Only those who used to say ‘Abba Jaan’ were digesting the ration,” Yogi said at an event in the state’s Kushinagar.

He said PM Modi changed the political agenda of the country. “The politics that began in 1947 and was limited to caste, religion, region and language, family and dynasty, PM Modi made it for villages, the poor, farmers, youth, women and children,” Yogi said.

The statement has evoked sharp criticism among social media users calling out Yogi’s communal rant. Leading the charge is former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

 “I’ve always maintained the BJP has no intention of fighting an election with an agenda other than blatant communalism & hatred with all the venom directed towards Muslims. Here is a CM seeking re-election claiming that Muslims ate up all the rations meant for Hindus,” he tweeted.

Yogi’s barb could be a ploy to deflect the attention from `Adgate’. A front-page advertisement in The Indian Express featured the flyover in Kolkata to show the development in UP. It has sent Yogi into a tizzy. The advertisement goof-up started a meme fest with people posting pictures of different world cities with sarcastic comments: `Guess this place in UP.’

Such was the flak that The Indian Express had to tender an apology to save Yogi from social media fury. “A wrong image was inadvertently included in the cover collage of the advertorial on Uttar Pradesh produced by the marketing department of the newspaper. The error is deeply regretted and the image has been removed in all digital editions of the paper,” Indian Express.

In fact, Yogi Adityanath is facing a tough time to retain power in UP. He is facing a formidable challenge from Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress. The elections are due next year.

In May, BJP suffered a major setback in the Panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh. BJP had fought the elections with all its might. It had held several high-profile meetings and chalked out strategy with its top leadership. The party was focusing on district Panchayat and regional Panchayat seats. It wanted its men to head district Panchayats.

All development activities in the districts are being overseen by Panchayats. They have a huge budget at their disposal. With an eye on next year’s assembly polls, the party wanted to use Panchayats to push the developmental agenda in a bid to woo voters.

However, BJP’s dreams came crashing down as it suffered a humiliating defeat in the polls. Now the party faces a bigger challenge to woo the electorate for the next year’s polls. 

There are indications that BJP may not return to power in the state. Independents are not inclined to support BJP given the anger among the people. BJP has got only 918 out of 3050 Panchayat seats.

Such is the defeat that the party has received drubbing even in Ayodhya, Mathura, and Kashi. Out of 40 district Panchayat seats in Ayodhya, BJP has won only six. Samajwadi Party has won 18, BSP, 4, and independents five. Once a stronghold of Hindutva, Ayodhya has dealt a major blow to BJP.

BJP also suffered set back in Mathura. BSP won 13 out of 33 district Panchayat seats. BJP and RLD won only eight seats each. Independents won three, while SP bagged only one seat.

BJP has got a drubbing in Varanasi, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. BJP got only seven seats here. SP won 10, while BSP bagged four seats. Congress got one and independents 17 seats.

BJP has suffered reverses in both Eastern and Western Uttar Pradesh. Muzaffarnagar had become highly polarized after the 2017 communal riots. The split was wide open between Hindus and Muslims. 

But the cracks seem to have been filled because of farmers’ agitation. Hindus and Muslims are once again living like brothers in western UP. That is why BJP received a drubbing in the area. 

RLD is trying to cash in on this development to defeat BJP. RLD has won 50 seats in Western UP, and the party is set to perform well in the forthcoming assembly polls too. BJP has been rattled by this development because Western UP accounts for 125 assembly seats. BJP was defeated in district panchayat elections in Basti, Balia, Deoria, Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Gazipur, Mirzapur, Badhoi, and others.

It was the first election post farmers movement in which BJP had to eat a humble pie. SP has performed well in the Panchayat polls. SP has won in Etawa, Mainpuri, Araria, Ferozabad. Eta, Azamgarh, Baliya, Dewaran, Allahabad, Aligarh, Farooqabad, Kanooj, Hardohi, Sitapur, Kanpur urban, Kanpur rural, Lucknow, and others. 

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