Different groups in the city gave mixed reactions to firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) firebrand leader Mahant Yogi Adityanath being chosen as the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. While Hindutva organisations expected stricter measures against cow slaughter, others hoped for a focus on development in western UP.
BJP won a simple majority in the recent assembly elections and Adityanath had been a major force during the party campaigns in western and eastern UP for these elections.
Hailing from Uttarakhand, Yogi Adityanath is a five-time MP from Gorakhpur, where he is also the mahant (head priest) of the Gorakhpur Matth. He is considered a Hindutva hardliner and is known for his fiery speeches. He is also the founder of the organisation Hindu Yuva Vahini that has been leading drives against cow slaughter and ‘love jihad’.
Rajiv Tyagi, spokesperson, UP Congress Committee, said, “Selection of the leader of newly-elected MLAs is the prerogative of the BJP. We have no comments over the selection of the new CM. However, we would like him to focus on issue of (creation of) a high court bench in western UP, better law and order, employment for youth and loan waiver for farmers. If they do it, we will provide constructive support. Otherwise we will fight tooth and nail.”
However, KZ Bukhari, a popular Muslim religious leader from Ghaziabad, said the decision was welcome and the new CM is expected to work for development.
“For past 60-70 years, hardliners have been present in all sections and parties. They are projected just to scare people. The new CM has been duly elected as the peoples’ representative and we hope he will be progressive and provide a robust administration. The party should also work on their agenda of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’,” he said.
Meanwhile, organisations working on Hindutva causes and protection of cows from slaughter have welcomed the move.
“Our long-pending wish has come true after Yogi Ji was named as the chief minister designate. We feel proud and his arrival will be a sort of revival for Hindus. Action against those involved in cow slaughter will also be hard. Other development works will automatically follow. He will prove to be a strong administrator and will also ensure safety and security of women, which he has already raised in his speeches,” said Pinki Chaudhary from the organisation Hindu Raksha Dal.
During the recent campaign, he had delivered speeches in election rallies at Dhaulana, Loni and Sahibabad that had drawn huge crowds.
In a speech in Shalimar Garden, he had also raised the issue of alleged exodus of Hindus in Kairana and Kandhla, and incidents such as the Bulandshahr gang rape.
“Other parties don’t consider these as issues. But if there is a small incident somewhere, it becomes their issue. It is because the Muslims have been converted into a vote bank. Such double standards should not exist in politics. How long can this vote bank politics go on?” he had said in his speech.
According to party sources, Yogi Adityanath’s election rallies were specially slotted in western UP where he raised the issues of alleged exodus, cow slaughter and rising crime.
“We have also seen incidents such as the 1990 massacre of Hindus in Kashmir... Whenever I pass through western UP on my way to eastern UP, I see various issues including that of identity crisis. If something happens there (in eastern UP), we fix those people and reply in a befitting manner. But, similar things are not witnessed here. Police and administration remain a mute spectator when a man is killed here,” he had said, hinting at the killing of dairy farm owner Singhasan Yadav in Shaheed Nagar. The incident had acquired communal overtones as the suspects were from a different community.