Why would India elect Yogi Adityanath as CM of Uttar Pradesh?

Published: March 20, 2017

BJP MP Yogi Adityanath was chosen as the Uttar Pradesh chief minister designate on Saturday. PHOTO: HINDUSTAN TIMES

Is the expanding dominance of Narendra Modi on a national political landscape a reassuring sign for India as a nation? Can we, Indians, rest assured that the country is in the hands of an enlightened leadership who will strengthen the idea of India?

The answer is a big no.

Despite the electoral dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Modi’s overarching presence in Indian politics today, the plural democracy has never looked as vulnerable in independent India as it looks today.

How will one explain the anointment of Yogi Adityanath, a rabid sectarian figure, as the chief minister (CM) of Uttar Pradesh (UP)?

Nath is known for his extremist harangue against the Muslim community, as well as other religious minority communities. Just before the UP elections, he called for the installation of Hindu statues in mosques across India. Two years ago, his “love jihad” campaign was aimed at polarising the Hindu-Muslim community in the most populous state in the country. The man once spent some time in jail for inciting violence against religious minorities. He faces many criminal charges for stoking inter-religious tension in society. His very name evokes fear among non-Hindu communities.

But the tragedy is that Modi, who sought votes in the name of development and canvassed on the slogan ofsabka saath sabka vikas” (collective effort and inclusive growth), chose the most divisive figure to head a state of 200 million people, where the minorities constitute around 20% of the population.

Even the blindest follower of the BJP understands what the saffron-robed Nath stands for: he is the face of Hindu radicalism in India today. A person of such credentials occupying the highest constitutional office in India’s most populous state is not a reassuring sign, but a direct assault on democratic decency in India now.

The choice of Nath as the CM of UP speaks more about Modi than about the new incumbent in India’s largest state. In the campaign for the just concluded state elections, the Indian prime minister went hoarse talking about the development and how the state needs a progressive government to take it to the new height of economic prosperity. Within weeks of the electoral verdict, that gave BJP and its allies 325 seats out of 403, Modi forsook that mask. He wants to make UP the laboratory of religious polarisation rather than a lab of economic development.

By choosing the most divisive figure for the CM post, Modi is declaring, in the most brazen manner possible, that India does not care about Muslims and other minorities. If they have to live in the country, they have to live under the Hindu subjugation accepting their terms and conditions. The message is not of reconciliation but hatred; it’s a brash assault on the country’s plurality and the declaration in no uncertain terms that India is a Hindu majoritarian country.

Those who understand Modi’s politics know quite well that the slogan of development is a smokescreen, the real agenda of the BJP and its ideological patrons is to make India a majoritarian country, where secularism, pluralism, liberalism are abusive terms and any one opposing the grand design is anti-national. It’s like mainstreaming what was once considered a fringe.

If one looks at Modi’s track record as India’s prime minister since 2014, his elevation has given legitimacy to all kinds of nasty elements in Indian politics. It’s no longer a shame to be a mass murderer in the name of religion, one does not need to be coy about being divisive, and it’s fashionable to abuse secular and liberal section.

Just a few days before anointing Nath as the head of the UP government, the BJP appointed Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga as one of the official spokespersons of the party. He enjoys the reputation of a rabid Hindu fundamentalist, an abusive troll of the right-wing party, one who organises disruption and violence if anyone talks about liberal and secular values in India.

In 2011, Bagga organised violence against a prominent social activist for speaking in favour of the rights of the Kashmiri people, and the BJP disassociated itself from him at the time. But today the BJP under Modi, the so-called man of development, presents Bagga as the spokesperson of the party.

Modi’s real achievement over the last three years is the institutionalisation of religious intolerance. Even his own economists are not confident about the economic progress the country has made so far in his term; therefore, they tamper with GDP data to present a false picture of growth.

Most of the reputed educational institutions have become a playground for the Hindu right-wing people. They want to mould and vitiate the cosmopolitan character of the campuses in the country and turn every debate into a nationalist versus anti-nationalist one.

Economic development does not exist in vacuum, it sustains in an environment of peace and harmony in the society. But the Indian society today is getting highly polarised and the government machinery is not honing the creative spirit of people but the baser instinct to divert the attention of the masses.

After watching Modi for three years, a majority of independent thinkers consider his promise of development a lie and a facade to mobilise people. No major economic reform has taken place in India since 2014 despite the government enjoying brute majority in parliament.

People have accumulated grievances against the previous regime in Delhi and other states and Modi has been exploiting this prevailing disenchantment to win elections. But gradually, it is becoming clear that the Modi of Gujarat is not a different man in Delhi. He remains the same, who allegedly presided over the massacre of hundreds of Muslims in 2002 when he was the chief minister of the western state.

The India that is evolving under him is very different in character and thought; it is an India where pluralism is abhorred, where secularism is discarded, where multiculturalism is seen as a civilisational burden and not an asset.

The larger world is too preoccupied with the moves Donald Trump is making in the US. But away from the glare, a great disruption is taking place in Indian democracy under the leadership of Modi.

In the US, liberal media and masses are coming out openly to protect the American spirit and identity. On the other hand, a majority of the media in India has become subservient to the regime. In some cases, the fourth estate has become the gangplank for the right-wing regime to implement its agenda.

Liberals in India are chafing under the Modi regime and they have been vociferous in their protest but such voices have to reach the masses. The irony is that the educated middle class and aspirational India have become tools of the majoritarian project.

Modi might be winning elections but he is defeating India.


Sanjay Kumar

The author is a New Delhi based journalist covering South Asian and international politics.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • cool champ

    What a pathetic blog. Such crap articles are more communal. Do you say the people who voted for a better govt are fools? Journalists like these create communal problems and try to divide India which is moving in the right path. Recommend

  • IAF101

    Classic case of the INTOLERANT Left – unwilling to even give Adityanath the CHANCE to govern – unwilling to allow a saffron robed man in office but eager to see a burka clad woman rising to high office – all in the name of “secularism” and “liberalism” ??

    The state of UP is a vast and massive state – it would be impossible to implement “Hindutva” on a society so large and diverse. The actual practicalities of governance will feature the mundane struggles, the need for policing, the need for infrastructure and the need for accountability that will come out of this. The old power structure installed by the SP – with its system of patronages will have to be demolished and replaced. In this interregnum – the need for a strong and popular leader to hold the state together through force of personality is crucial.Recommend

  • Rahul

    Modi appointed Yogi Adityanath as CM of UP so that the article had someone else to complain about besides Modi.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    When you lie, its evident. When you tell the truth and sprinkle a few lies, nobody cares. The best liars always tell the truth, when its convenient.

    But, we Indians are more informed, aren’t we..

    “No major economic reform has taken place in India since 2014 despite the government enjoying brute majority in parliament.”



    Then the GDP numbers. The numbers were questioned by the economists when the system of calculating was changed. But, nobody has questioned it since then as more information was provided.

    However, India getting the highest FDI in 2015 has escaped his attention.


    Why should we even read and debate on a guy who is clearly biased ?Recommend

  • Rohan

    I’m an Indian and this yogi is a nonsensical appointmentRecommend

  • Concard_007

    As long as people like these exist there will be more Yogis and Modis. Hindus have been taken for a ride by all secular parties and people act as their stooges. Not anymore. We will be showing who is the majority and whose goodwill you must have to win elections. All the parties which are wooing Muslims are getting decimated in elections. If you continue to do so, then don’t be surprised if more people like Yogi and Modi emerge from ashes to protect interests of Hindus. We will be unapologetically Hindu in face. Recommend

  • Critical

    BJP was able to win 5 out of 6 states contested….
    The much maligned demonitization had no effect on the verdict on the states as predicted by these arm chair activist and in fact they helped Modi secure more seats than before.
    He has forgotten that Communists havent won a single seat in any of the seats and they lost their deposit in all of them.
    BJP winning in Muslim and christian dominated areas clearly show that the common people are more aware of what is happening in India than the deluded lefties.
    Considering that almost all of the new CMs have come up from lower level without any family influence shows that BJP loves meritocracy not nepotism.
    Just throwing around words like “fascism”,”hitler”,”trump”,”Hindutva” etc are having no effect on common people.
    Its time to put the communism in museums which hindered the growth of India for 60 years…its the dawn of new eraRecommend

  • Raj – USA

    When you compare the number of muslims who voted for BJP/Modi in prior elections and in the recent election, the increase in the percentage of muslims who voted for BJP/Modi is the highest and is higher than even the percentage increase of hindus who voted for BJP/Modi. In fact, correspondingly, all other parties have shown percentage decrease of muslim voters in their vote bank. The muslims of India love Modi and trust that he will bring them good.

    Pakistanis claim that Modi ran his election campaign on anti-Pakistan campaign.
    Every time Modi is seen as anti-Pakistan, the muslims of India love him even more and they rally behind him in ever increasing numbers.Recommend

  • Akber Shakil

    This will be beginning of end of BJP, what ppl in India haven’t understood about consequences of nurturing a right wing person will understand now.

    And hopefully by next general elections BJP will be completely routed.Recommend

  • whyforg

    India was defeated and humiliated by the agents of islam and their quislings (like the congress guys) for 1200 years. Forgot that?Recommend

  • Ram Kumar Swarnkar

    If you really want to know Yogi – go to gorakhnath temple. there lots of muslim have their shop. I do not see any positive side in your whole story – Recommend

  • common

    Waiting for the indian commentator. From bhartiyay ghanta division.Recommend

  • Vaibhav Bhau

    Come to gorakhpur and see his development.Recommend

  • M. S. Chaudhry

    Why wouldn’t Indians elect leaders like Yogi. Recent survey proves that Indians are very unhappy people. Unhappiness is the result of fear and ends in electing people like Yogi.Recommend

  • Kasturi K

    Whatever the crime committed by Pakistan, it’s people have never voted right leaning party into power.Recommend

  • Aamir – Toronto

    I sincerely believe that India is on path of self-destruction under Modi’s government !!!Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    Inside Yogi’s Math (Ashram/temple in Gorakhpur) Finance handler is Muslim, Cow etc supervisor is Muslim, many Shopkeepers are Muslim, Gardner, Even Temple designer is Muslim, Food cooking person has been Muslim.Recommend

  • Rajiv

    Looks like Mr. Kumar was having a good slumber.
    Now the tremors have woken himup.
    Good Morning Kumar ji.Recommend

  • Concard_007

    Then be happy, why are you worried? Shouldn’t you be happy when India is on a self destruct mode or by mistake you typed India instead of Pakistan which has gone long way into self destruct mode?Recommend

  • Concard_007

    That’s a sweet dream which will remain just a dream. Congress will get even less than the number of seats they got in 2014. BJP star is looking bright and they are on the march.Recommend

  • Farhan

    You completely avoided his argument regarding Hindu fanaticism. Even Hitler was a great economic reformer…Recommend

  • Milind A

    The only bad thing that came up from this appointment was resurrection of all the invalids – the bogus secularists who have their shop shutdown, because of people’s preference to ModiRecommend

  • Milind A

    That’s a lame argument. Pakistan was founded on a toxic right wing ideology. So all parties have to exhibit rightist attitudes (e.g. support for blasphemy) etc to stay alive. Its just the shades are different across parties. No party has openly propounded secularism. Should we thank our stars that people did not elect ISIS but Imran Khan’s party etc who openly supported taliban etc. or Nawaz Sharif who dare not say anything against blasphemy or in support of Ahmadis.Recommend

  • IAF101

    lol pakistani psychologist ?Recommend

  • IAF101

    In an Islamic theocracy what is a “right leaning party” ? That’s like Nazi’s saying they don’t vote for the “right leaning party” – meaningless.Recommend

  • Sane

    Lot of Indian Trolls on these pages. It is smelling with human blood of those Muslims, killed by these fanatic Hindus.Recommend

  • Concard_007

    You have lot of superpowers, still you can’t get Kashmir.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    1) Hindu Nationalism is different from Hindu Fanaticism. Saying Hindus should be treated equally and their culture should be respected in not fanaticism. Modi has not called for harm of anyone. If he had, I’m sure someone would have approached the Court to get him jailed for hate speech.
    Same with Yogi Adityanath. He will be jailed for hate speech if he has given one.

    2) Jinnah too said things like “We shall divide India or destroy it”. A few days later after he said this, 5000 Hindus died in a district where Jinnah’s party was in power. Yet, you guys consider Jinnah clean and secular. Isn’t this double standards?Recommend

  • Kasturi K

    JI, JUF and your much feared (loathed) LeT aka JDawa. IK is taliban Khan. People have no love for Alqaeda or IS either. Looks like you have not been following Nawaz Sharif and his views recently regarding various issues. Not your fault, as Indians have been too busy getting your favourite candidate elected. The problem with Indians is that they love to impose their views on others and think that they are ultimate in everything. Yes, narcissistic attitude. I would love to hear the same views about Israel also, another country founded on religious grounds. And yes, thank your stars that we have no love for IS because it’s toxic ideology won’t stop at Pakistan. Their map of ‘khurasan’ includes India, Bangladesh and much more. So sleep in peace because we are the gateway they have to decimate before looking at India.Recommend

  • Kasturi K

    Look at your own self Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Islam and Christianity are legions to enslave the natives. Indians need to own their native ancestors, their culture and spirituality lest hey become rootless parasites like AfPak people, who have become headache of the world.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    100 Million+ natives were killed by alien marauders in the name of one of GodRecommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Ajmal Kasab and rest of LET Jihadi gang were also very happy. Even happy Pakistanis are suicidal and that is dangerous.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    Please don’t write about Jinnah saying things like “We shall divide India or destroy it”. He never said this. Right until 1946, he wanted India to remain united, but people like Nehru and Patel thought that an independent Pakistan would not last six months, just like Indians today consider Pakistan a failed state. Open your eyes, India under Modi is bound to fail.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    We have to be worried that India is being taken over by wrong people who will control India’s nuclear arsenal. Such people have no idea of what it means to nuke another country, that dropping an atom bomb over Pakistan or any other neighboring country will mean millions of Indians being killed as well.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    BJP will have to find another mosque or shrine to demolish under the pretext that there is a Hindu temple underneath it. Maybe Buckingham Palace or Taj Mahal?Recommend

  • Patwari

    What the world is seeing, is Hindustan’s descent into the abyss.
    The Vermilion Lord-Modi Sarkar [with his mail order degree from
    a diploma factory in Poona] is leading the Hindu Desh down a path
    of no return. There is no Off Ramp on this express way. It’s straight to
    a very Dead End street. A nasty place.
    The Saffron Pied Piper has the Bharati Janata mesmerized, The poor
    desperate, barely literate, two billion souls will believe anything thrown
    their ways. Modi Sarkar promised Chicken Biryani [vegetarian biryani?]
    to hungary people who live on idlis and dosas.
    The Great Mahatma’s land has come to this. May his sainted soul rest
    in peace.Recommend

  • Concard_007

    Sure we have our targets which one to demolish next. You will hear it in the news, don’t worry about it.Recommend

  • Concard_007

    Nice joke.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    “He never said this.”

    Basic intelligence dictates that one should Google something before categorically declaring that Jinnah didn’t say this. I am not least bit surprised you didn’t. You should know who you are talking to before challenging.

    OK, this means if Jinnah had said this, he a divisive figure, far from the secular person that he is projected to be. Unfortunately, he did say this on Aug 16 1946.



    Jinnah was a big believer in violence after non-violent methods were exhausted. TTP too had talks with Pakistan, when it broke down resorted to violence. They were actually following in Jinnah’s footsteps.
    “Today we have said good-byes to Constitution and Constitutional methods”. He concluded by saying “We also have a Pistol”.
    Google all this, if you need. Not the quite peaceful, secular man, Jinnah was, that liberals built him up to be. He was a man who embraced Religion later in life, a hallmark of a sick, ambitious man, who didn’t have much time, and wanted his wish fulfilled before his death.Recommend

  • Milind A

    Its good that you and your rogue army has been scared no end…. The whole world has been wary about you..and your nuclear programme. Finally we have a strong leader who will call your bluff and put in your right place.Recommend

  • Milind A

    What about the murder and mayhem caused by your coreligionists since the inception of ur religion? Right from killing and destruction of Pagans, Jews in Arabia, to other civilizations (Zoroastrians in persia, Hindus in Afghanistan, Pakistan to India), other smaller sects (Shias, Ahmadis).. its blood and gore everywhere. On top of it, we see you carrying out the barbaric custom of animal slaughter and making a spectacle of it..Recommend

  • Milind A

    But in Israel its minorities have better rights and quality of life than those in Muslim lands. They’re not complaining… Atleast Israel doesn’t have blasphemy laws, all Sharia with all those beheadings, floggings and what not.Recommend

  • Sane

    Why don’t you tell your Hindu mane?Recommend

  • Patwari

    Raj, do not worry about Pakland or Muslims.
    Do you really live in US? Could be your inferiority
    complex forcing you to attach US to your moniker.
    the Trump red neck
    hoodlums/bigots/thugs/White Supremacists are after
    minorities,…specially brown ones.Recommend

  • Sane

    What’s your Hindu name?Recommend

  • Sane

    Hindus claim that Taj Mahal was not built by Shahjehan. So, no point razing it. There are many other masjids in India, then can select anyone. What else is expected from a nation ruled by a terrorist Prime Minister.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Who is Sanjay Kumar? Subcontinental presstitutes stand in the same queue with Jihadis, EvanJihadis and KaamReds in DupliCity to steal hard earned $s of poor American widows. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXV-Yq8cV9I&t=33m38s It seems he is utterly unwashed, inebriated ugly bewda JNU BA Hons.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    DeshBhakt Bharatwasi.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi
  • Kasturi K

    Really? Really? Are you sure? I feel sad you for living in la la land. Ever visited Israel? What do you know about Judaism? Leave it. You will never admit that you are biased.Recommend

  • Sane

    I am happy to know you strategy. This will accelerate the process of making another Pakistan in leftover India.Recommend

  • Concard_007

    This is not 1947 and there is no Gandhi to protect anyone. Go ahead and try and see what will happen.Recommend

  • IAF101

    Is that an argument ?Recommend

  • ranjan

    Pakisthanis have already made the UP Muslims of pakisthan as a second class citizen .(they call them mojahir).now we see them shedding crocodile tears for Indian UP Muslims. This is height of double standards.Recommend

  • Farha

    All of this has been debunked in my other comments so I do not deem a detailed response necessary. But the fact that you compare the most constitutional and democratic party in British India to a terrorist organization simply shows one that can not even come up with a fair and consistent comparison. We have seen this before with you comparing 60 dead to 1000+ and peaceful hartaals (such as the Direct action hartaals) to the Gujrat genocide.

    But still, the TTP are Deobandi/Wahabbi sect who consider Ahmeddis and Shias Kaffirs similar to the pro-Congress Islamist parties. They even called Jinnah Kafir-e-Azam. A much more apt accurate comparison of the TTP would be with these Congress affiliated groups. They were merely spewing the venom that the Congress endorsed wholeheartedly in their attempts to undermine the League, knowing well that the Muslims of India were with the Muslim League. Same for the TTP, with an even better comparison being with the RSS if one is looking for a Hindu version of it. Both are far right, paramilitary (read terrorist) groups.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    You did not debunk anything.

    You falsely claimed Jinnah was a Secular man, but couldn’t reproduce a single quote where he has even used the word Secular.

    On the other hand, I’ve quoted Jinnah when he showed his Islamist tendencies, when he said to his daughter to marry a Muslim instead of a non-Muslim. In addition to this I’ve quoted Jinnah where he said he is pro-Sharia.

    You earlier claimed some Inspector leveled allegations against BJP Govt, but ran away the moment I showed you Supreme Court’s order.


    There was no Gujarat Genocide. There was however a Hindu massacre in Godhra.

    Even though there is a SC order clearing Modi, you accuse him. But, you won’t believe Jinnah.

    “Muslims of India were with the Muslim League”

    Getting votes using Religion is not really hard, is it. Parties do that all the time in Pakistan.

    ML couldn’t win in NWFP and Jinnah undemocratically dismissed the Bacha Khan Govt, showing his authoritative streak.

    “Jinnah Kafir-e-Azam”
    Like Jinnah called Nehru a Hindu leader. Jinnah shows his Islamist tendencies when he calls for Sharia. Nehru shows his secular mindset when he ensures India has a secular constitution.

  • MJ

    Ajmal Kasab was part of a false flag operation. I have never heard anybody (from Pakistan) speak like how he spoke in his interviews. His accent, vocabulary and sentence formation is as foreign to my ears as someone speaking Tamil.Recommend

  • MJ

    If Muslim rulers really conducted mass conversions and genocides, there would’ve been no Hindus left in India. They had nearly a 1000 years to do so. Case in point Spain where there are no traces of Muslims after Spanish inquisition.
    Also Malaysia and Indonesia were historically Hindu/Buddhist countries. How did they become Muslim majority without any invading Muslims armies?
    Furthermore did Muslims evict Budhists from present day India by killing them and forcing them in large numbers or the friendly non-violent Hindus? Do you even know/read independently written history?Recommend

  • Farha

    ” he has even used the word Secular.”
    This has been debunked too. The Indian constitution did not use the word secular and Gandhi spoke of Ram Rajya.

    “There was no Gujarat Genocide.”
    I have merely quoted authorities.

    “ran away ”
    You are the one who has not responded to many of my comments. It is understandable since we have been at it for some time, but I would not accuse you of “running away”

    “Getting votes using Religion is not really hard”
    Lol, and yet Congress failed hard with its Islamist alliances.

    “dismissed the Bacha Khan Govt
    Actually the NWFP voted for Pakistan rather than India. Pakistan was willing to go through a plebiscite unlike India. Bacha Khan for his case while treated harshly was no saint himself.

    What happened to Bacha Khan
    was actually mush lenient than the treatment of Sheikh Abdullah in Indian Kashmir who despite being Prime minister of (Indian) Kashmir, was sacked and arrested on Nehru’s orders due to the bogus “Kashmir Conspiracy case”.

    “Like Jinnah called Nehru a Hindu leader.”
    You and your false equivalences…There is a difference between calling someone a Kaafir or a Hindu. Calling Nehru a Hindu was a statement of fact. (See ambedkars comments on Congress). He did not call him a Kaafir
    which from an extreme perspective would have been theologically true. Nehru’s daughter was wed in a Hindu ceremony and both of them were indeed Hindu. By contrast calling Jinnah a Kaafir by pro-Congress leaders was an act of excommunication with deadly
    ramifications. Neither Nehru nor Gandhi condemned this and were hence complicit in it.

    “Jinnah shows his Islamist tendencies ”
    Sharia is not a law when used in a religious sense. Even American Muslims follow it when they pray 5 times or fast in Ramazan. This is completely different from the issue of a Theocracy/Caliphate (which Pakistan never was), or the hudud punishments (which were imposed by Zia but are
    largely unenforced). You seem to conflate Muslim and Islamic, which is not surprising as both Hindu and Islamic fundamentalists do this.Recommend

  • gp65

    Jinnah’s speech in Lahore in 1940 where he spoke about TNT – was it for a united India? The terms for united India proposed by Jinnah rejected one person one vote and he demanded extra weightage to Muslim vote keeping in mind they were former rulers. Naturally, such a condition could not be accepted.
    Jinnah also acceded Liaqat Ali’s demand to push out Hindus and Sikhs from Karachis involuntarily to make room for voluntary Muhajirs from India.Recommend