“A land where Ram and Krishna were born is now in safe hands. The dream of establishing a Hindu empire in this land now appears to be coming true,” says Manoj Kashyap, convenor of the Rashtrawadi Pratap Sena (RPS), in northern Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur.
The RPS is one among UP’s wide network of Hindu groups cheering Yogi Adityanath’s ascent as chief minister of the state. Together, they view the Hindu hardliner’s takeover of political power as a licence to press on with the mission of creating a Hindu Rashtra.
Set up five years ago to fight caste-based reservation in jobs, the RPS, an admittedly “akramak sangathan” (aggressive group), has over 5,000 ‘sainiks’ across the state.
When they heard the announcement on March 18, “we got together with like-minded groups and celebrated the news”, says Kashyap.
“Yogiji is a Hindu ‘sher’ (lion) and there is no doubt that under his guidance the Hindu nationalist flag will be unfurled across UP,” he says.
Kashyap is confident that Adityanath’s government will bring Hindutva fringe groups into political mainstream.
“The government will certainly act on the suggestions of nationalist organisations, from cow slaughter to raids on mosques and madarassas. Any Muslim boy trying to trap a Hindu girl in love jihad will be put behind bars,” he says.
Ved Nagar, the man in charge of the Gau Raksha Hindu Dal in west UP’s Bishahra — where a Muslim man was lynched in 2015 by a Hindu mob for allegedly storing beef — thinks the empowerment is already afoot.
“The people of Bishahra came to me today. We are hoping for a CBI investigation and release on bail of the innocent kids who have been put in jail,” he says.
Nagar is also certain that “there will be a 100% end to the spread of desh-droh.” His foot soldiers have never felt more validated. “We will draw strength from Yogi ji’s government,” he says.
Adityanath’s anointment also came as “good news” for the Hindu Kranti Dal, a 10-year-old organisation with wide-ranging presence — in Sitapur, Bareilly, Hapur — and interests from temples to cows. Says Preetam Singh Lomas, in charge of the HKD’s Meerut chapter, “Having Yogiji as CM will certainly encourage us to charge forward. This government will carry forward the whole set of Hindu concerns. Nothing can stop Ram mandir from being built.”
Although most of these outfits see hope in Adityanath, some think his political rise will make the Hindutva fringe redundant.
“They will not have much to do because there will no longer be ‘atyaachaar’ (atrocity) directed at Hindus,” says Ishwar Dayal, chief of the Dharam Jagran Samiti, a vocal anti-conversion group with 500 units in each of UP’s six regions.
“The government itself will take care of everything. It will set up anti-Romeo squads and make sure women are safe.”
The Hindu fringe network will have to wait for a few weeks to see how their future looks in a UP led by Adityanath. But for now they see it as the best thing to have ever happened to the state.
“Yogi as chief minister has given not just UP but the whole country a new identity,” says Kashyap, of the Pratap Sena.
“Gujarat was already in safe hands and now Uttar Pradesh is also in safe hands. Mother India is now in safe hands,” he says.