The Prime Minister has spoken passionately against communal disharmony. And it was expected that his MPs would not go against the grain on this issue. But for Gorakhpur MP, Yogi Adityanath, communal rhetoric seems a daily staple.
From urging Hindus to rise against any (read Muslim) challenge, he has now threatened to convert a 100 Muslims for each Hindu convert.
One would think that coming from Gorakhpur, which has routine electricity outages, Japanese encephalitis epidemics and drinking water problems, he would be addressing these issues for the people who elected him. But from day one, the yogi, who has cases against him in the 2007 Gorakhpur riots, has been on the offensive against the Muslim minority.
The PM is very particular about the conduct of his party’s MPs and ministers. And rightly so. It is then in the fitness of things to censure Adityanath, who has in the past freely expressed his venomous views in Parliament.
His conduct and the party’s silence, barring a half-hearted protest that these are not the views of the BJP, will be seen as licence from others courting cheap popularity to make ugly and communal remarks.
Such statements, especially those demonising another community, always go down well with the lumpen elements. But in the case of Adityanath, he seems to have made hate speech his USP.
Under normal circumstances, he should be behind bars, but an extremely lenient system seems to have let him roam free to scatter the seeds of hate in his wake.
His formation of the Hindu Yuva Vahini and his question of whether people should give up saying Jai Jawan and substitute it for Jai Musalman suggest an extreme paranoia and persecution complex. The Hindu majority in this country surely does not need an advocate like Adityanath to champion its cause, if there is one at all.
The BJP as the party of governance must lead by example.
It must make sure that needless provocation of the sort proffered by Adityanath and his ilk is firmly put down.
Such deliberate attempts to sow divisiveness are not part of the inclusive agenda that the PM promised India. It only takes a few rotten eggs to give the whole of the BJP a bad name.
The Union home minister should now be alert to such challenges to internal security and respond with alacrity when anyone makes remarks which could threaten the peace.
From the PM’s remarks with their focus on development, communal tensions should be a thing of the past. And someone carrying a very big stick needs to convey this to the self-styled yogi.