Yogi Adityanath - a controversial figure in Indian Politics - Seeker's Thoughts

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Yogi Adityanath - a controversial figure in Indian Politics


Yogi Adityanath - A Controversial Figure in Indian Politics       

Yogi Adityanath A Controversial Figure in Indian Politics





Yogi Adityanath has never known electoral uncertainty during his 19-year political career in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Through long-term mobilisation and patronage of his electorate, Adityanath has established himself as an electorally secure politician.

The BJP-RSS have put the fiery Hindutva mascot at the helm of their core constituency. But he has made headlines due to his provocative comments over time.


The Controversies


Yogi Adityanath is an outspoken Hindutva leader renowned for his flamboyant style and bigotry, garnering widespread admiration and following. He played an essential part in helping BJP achieve victory at recent Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, winning three-fourths of votes cast. 

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As an outspoken advocate of building Ram Mandir at its controversial site in Ayodhya he helped shape and implement its Hindutva agenda throughout Uttar Pradesh.

Yogi Berra has long been noted for his provocative speeches and has often drawn fire for encouraging non-Hindus to adopt Hinduism. 

Many have accused him of incitement to religious hatred and communal violence by targeting Muslims with his rhetoric, in addition to inciting followers of his Hindu Yuva Vahini organisation to burn or desecrate bodies of those killed during Gorakhpur riots in 2002.

Yogi Adityanath has built himself an impressive 30-year political career. Known for being one of India's most controversial politicians, he enjoys an enormous following among Hindu nationalists who see him as their hero and protector. Furthermore, Yogi has often been touted as the next prime minister.

However, his increasing popularity is met with accusations of hate speech, incitement to religious hatred, and violations of laws protecting religious freedom from people across all spectrums - from journalists and civil society groups alike.

Yogi was born Ajay Singh Bisht in Uttarakhand on 5 June 1972 to a Gharwali Rajput family and completed his schooling from Pauri before going on to complete a Bachelor of Mathematics from Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University. Following this completion he joined the Ayodhya Ram Temple movement under Mahant Avaidyanath's tutelage before taking on his moniker of Yogi in 1990.

Since becoming a member of the 12th Lok Sabha at age 26 in 1998, he has been reelected for four additional terms. A popular figure within Uttar Pradesh, he is widely considered one of the best performing chief ministers nationwide and runs numerous charity projects as a renowned social worker - for which he has won multiple awards.


His Rise to Cheif Minister


Yogi-turned-politician's rise comes amid concerns of religious intolerance in India's most populous state. By electing him chief minister, the BJP has put one of their key allies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the forefront of national politics.


Modi stands in the long tradition of Hindu nationalist politics begun by Mahaant Digvijay Nath and Mahant Avaidyanath in 1949 when they led Hindu forces during the takeover of Ayodhya's Babri Masjid in central India.

 Although his tradition eventually merged into his governing party's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), many Hindu nationalists still maintain separate identities within it.

Adityanath, head priest of Gorakhnath Mutt and five-time member of parliament, personifies this strain of Hindutva politics. He applauded Trump's Muslim ban while advocating for forcible converting villages full of Muslims, and warned minorities who don't support yoga to leave India.

Though his divisive rhetoric has raised concerns about his political clout, some in the BJP see it as an effective means of winning over disgruntled members from certain castes who had become disenchanted with it over time. Some in the BJP view him as a key complement to Modi who drives through its Hindu majoritarian agenda with greater force while fulfilling his duties as leader of the nation.

Some BJP leaders have voiced criticism against him, particularly with regard to law and order issues in Uttar Pradesh and allegations of gang rape of a Dalit teenager in Hathras district; however, his replacement remains uncertain as party high command seems disinterested in making changes that might benefit its base while appealing to new voters.

To demonstrate its inclusive nature, the BJP has appointed two deputy chief ministers from across Indian society - Keshav Prasad Maurya (an OBC) and Dinesh Sharma (a Brahmin). Their selection serves to emphasize the diversity of its population while showing how well its coalition can accommodate multiple communities.


Challenges and Achievements


Monk-turned-politician Shantanu Shekhar was instrumental in breaking a 25-year jinx to secure the BJP a second term win in Uttar Pradesh. However, he has also been at the centre of many controversies; from likening Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed during intolerance discussions to encouraging non-Hindus to convert to Hinduism - his divisive rhetoric has made him an infamously controversial figure.


But there have been positives too. The saffron-robed leader is widely credited with improving infrastructure such as roads, hospitals and railways across his state. Additionally, free rations were introduced for low-income families while helping thousands build houses and toilets. Anti-corruption initiatives were launched as well as easier loan approval processes for farmers.


Yogi faced one of his toughest challenges yet in dealing with unrest caused by protests by military job aspirants who threatened to burn trains and damage government properties, but Yogi's strategy of employing additional police forces and persuading protesters to back off eventually proved successful.


His tireless approach and ability to effectively navigate government processes has earned him a well-earned reputation as one of India's hardiest politicians. He regularly holds meetings to evaluate project progress while keeping officials busy.


Yogi Adityanath, widely seen as the BJP's best chance at winning the next general election and becoming prime minister, is making some in the party uncomfortable due to his leadership style, according to some former colleagues who told me his ambition is being blocked by Amit Shah and Modi; both see Yogi as competition that poses a risk to their political careers.


Yogi Adityanath's ascent to power has not gone over well with BJP MPs from UP either, including senior party leaders Dinesh Sharma and Mahendra Singh, as some feel his leadership is unconstitutional. Yogi has denied being the future PM while insisting he remains focused on his work in Uttar Pradesh.


Is He Going to be a Future PM of India?


Rarely is a person holding such an influential office as prime minister without having an heir apparent lined up, particularly when they believe their divinely appointed status warrants it. So when people ask who will replace Modi as India's premier, their concerns are well founded.


And yet this fiery priest is not your ordinary BJP politician; rather he's fuelling religious nationalism with his provocative statements and bigotry. He enjoys widespread support among Hindu rightists while being seen as a formidable foe against Muslim Indians in India's most populous state.


He has proven his effectiveness as a leader in turning things around in Gujarat, yet many remain uncertain whether his style will work at a national level. While he promises bringing the Gujarat model of development across the nation, its predecessor had already boasted robust industries and flourishing entrepreneurship cultures before him assuming office.


And it seems unlikely that he can replicate these successes on a national scale; his brand of bigotry could prove dangerous for India's secular democracy.


Adityanath, who staunchly backs the construction of a Ram Mandir on its controversial location in Ayodhya, spearheaded the BJP's Hindutva campaign in Uttar Pradesh and won three-fourths majority at state election. Though often at odds with central leadership, he still wields considerable clout among his party's predominantly Hindu voters.


Ultimately, placing him in charge of Uttar Pradesh is a risky gamble for the BJP. His defiance could come back to haunt them in future elections; but for now his political prowess makes him an attractive option.

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