UP elections: Hindu Yuva Vahini enters campaign mode after 5 years of dormancy

The HYV played an important role in Adityanath’s election campaigns in 2004, 2009 and 2014 and also propagated the message of Hindutva in rural areas of eastern UP.
Hindu Yuva Vahini vigilante members take part in a rally in the city of Unnao in 2017. The outfit has emerged after five years of dormancy and is seat to campaign for the UP elections. (Reuters file)
Hindu Yuva Vahini vigilante members take part in a rally in the city of Unnao in 2017. The outfit has emerged after five years of dormancy and is seat to campaign for the UP elections. (Reuters file)
Updated on Jan 20, 2022 05:39 AM IST
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By, Lucknow

The Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV), founded in 2002, when he was an MP, by Yogi Adityanath, has emerged after five years of dormancy, with the likely trigger being the the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) decision to field Adityanath from his and its base, Gorakhpur, in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

The HYV played an important role in Adityanath’s election campaigns in 2004, 2009 and 2014 and also propagated the message of Hindutva in rural areas of eastern UP. After Adityanath became chief minister in March 2017, units of the HYV in various districts of Gorakhpur were disbanded at the request of the BJP leadership over fears that it would function as a parallel political outfit. Its office-bearers and members who protested this move were expelled from it. This included HYV’s then state president Sunil Singh.

Over the following five years, the HYV withdrew from political activities to focus on social issues, including ration distribution, building awareness about Covid-19 and Japanese Encephalitis, assisting migrant workers, and assisting local authorities in the implementation of development and welfare schemes.

The announcement that CM Adityanath will be fielded from the Gorakhpur urban seat has charged members of the HYV. Though polling on this seat will be held in the sixth phase of UP polls on March 3, the HYV has already launched an intensive campaign to ensure Adityanath’s victory.

In view of Covid-19 guidelines implemented by the Election Commission of India (ECI), the HYV has decided to organise door-to-door meetings, digital meetings, and strengthen its organisation at the booth level across the assembly segment, said PK Mall, general secretary, HYV.

HYV office-bearers will hold a meeting with the chief minister over the election strategy and campaign when he arrives in Gorakhpur, Mall added.

“Political activities of the HYV were dormant for around five years, but the organisation has been reactivated with the announcement of Yogi Adityanath’s candidature from the city seat. The outfit will hold meetings in all the wards and also campaign for BJP candidates in other assembly segments on the direction of the CM,” said Ram Laxman, a senior HYV leader and former students’ union leader of DDU Gorakhpur University.

In the 2017 assembly elections, HYV leader Raghvendra Pratap Singh contested from Domariyaganj seat in Siddharthnagar. In a close contest, he defeated BSP candidate Saiyada Khatoon by a margin of 171 votes. In the 2022 assembly polls too, several HYV leaders are aspiring for BJP tickets.

Adityanath raised the HYV in 2002 after his relationship with the BJP soured due to differences over ticket distribution in the assembly election. He challenged the BJP leadership by fielding Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal on a Hindu Mahasabha ticket against BJP candidate Shiv Pratap Shukla. Agarwal defeated Shukla, establishing Adityanath as the unchallenged leader of eastern UP, said Satyadeo Singh, a teacher in a government college in Gorakhpur.

Soon, HYV volunteers were also entrusted with the task of propagating the Hindutva agenda promoted by the Gorakhnath mutt headed by Adityanath. From 300 members in 2002, the strength of the HYV increased to 1.5 million in 2017. In the Gorakhpur division alone, around half a million joined the outfit as it opened offices in villages.

However, the activities of the HYV did not go down well with local BJP leaders who considered the outfit a “private force of Adityanath”. They urged the party leadership to curtail the activities of the HYV after Adityanath became CM, Singh added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rajesh Kumar Singh is a special correspondent at HT Lucknow. He covers State Home Department, State Police, Central police agencies,BSP, Health Department, UP Chief Electoral Officer, Irrigation Department, Mining and, Lokayukta.

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Thursday, May 26, 2022