How the Yogi factor played out in assembly polls
Although Yogi’s close aides claimed that the BJP won more than half of the seats where he campaigned, his political rivals said the BJP lost badly wherever he went for electioneeringUpdated: Dec 12, 2018 23:14 IST
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who found himself in the midst of a controversy or two during his election campaign, kept the BJP’s Hindutva in the political focus in the state assembly elections.
Although Yogi’s close aides claimed that the BJP won more than half of the seats where he campaigned, his political rivals said the BJP lost badly wherever he went for electioneering.
They also said his campaign will be known more for the controversies he generated than the number of seats he won for the party.
“The BJP fared badly wherever Yogi went for campaigning. In fact, Yogi generated more controversies than the number of seats he won for the BJP,” said Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Raj Babbar.
As the chief minister courted a controversy in Rajasthan for allegedly calling Lord Hanuman a Dalit, Babbar said Yogi has been paid back in his own for showing disrespect to the deity.
For his part, Yogi had denied the accusation, saying those who did not understand religion would not be able to understand him. Several Dalit groups subsequently started staking claim to Hanuman temples and began performing ‘puja’ there. Soon after Yogi’s observation, a BJP leader put Lord Hanuman in the category of a tribal.
In response to a senior Congress leader’s call to Muslims to ensure 90% voter turnout, Yogi said in Madhya Pradesh: “Keep your Ali, we have Bajrangbali”. His remark brought into focus his aggressive Hindutva stance.
Seeking votes for his party in Tandur assembly constituency in Telangana, Yogi targeted AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, saying Owaisi would have to ‘run away’ from Hyderabad like the Nizam, if the BJP came to power in the southern state.
The campaign more or less coincided with Adityanath going on a name-changing spree. He renamed Allahabad as Prayagraj in October and Faizabad as Ayodhya in November.
Besides, the saffron brigade made attempts to rake up the temple issue with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad holding a Dharam Sabha in Ayodhya to counter Shiv Sena’s “aashirvodtsava” held there on November 24.
Meanwhile, a BJP functionary claimed the party was winning in about 45 out of 74 seats where Adityanath campaigned during the assembly elections.
These included seven out of the 23 seats covered by Yogi’s campaign in Chhattisgarh, 14 out of 17 such seats in Madhya Pradesh and nearly 50% of 26 such seats in Rajasthan.
In Telangana, the BJP won one out of eight assembly seats covered by Yogi’s campaign.
First Published: Dec 12, 2018 09:45 IST