Hanuman was a Dalit, says Yogi Adityanath: Employed to reinforce Hindutva narrative, Uttar Pradesh CM is following BJP strategy

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday claimed that the Hindu deity Hanuman belonged to the Dalit and tribal communities during his political rally in Rajasthan. Adityanath has, in the past, seamlessly dropped names of Hindu gods in a bid to garner votes in poll-bound states like Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

Adityanath, who has reportedly been of the BJP's star campaigners during the ongoing season of Assembly polls, was campaigning in the Malpura constituency. The chief minister said, “Hanuman was a tribal, a forest dweller and was deprived. Bajrang Bali worked to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to west. This was his resolve as it was Lord Ram’s wish. Just like him, we should also not rest till we fulfil that wish."

Adityanath also said that only those worship Ravana, the antagonist from the Ramayana, would vote for the Congress. He added that all "Ram-bhakts" should vote for the BJP.

 Hanuman was a Dalit, says Yogi Adityanath: Employed to reinforce Hindutva narrative, Uttar Pradesh CM is following BJP strategy

File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI

Incidentally, this is the second time that Adityanath has mentioned Hanuman as part of his election campaign speech. He had spoken about the deity being a Dalit tribal in the tribal-dominated state of Chhattisgarh too, ahead of the elections. He had said, "Hanuman sabse bade Adivasi hain, vanvasi hain...," and added, "When Lord Ram was on vanvaas, he helped the local tribals from the terror of demons. Just like Ram did in Treta Yug, the BJP is also aiming to bring Ram Rajya in the state."

A report by News18 said, "Analysts see this as BJP’s two-pronged strategy to appeal to a wide base of voters — Adityanath is employed to reinforce Hindutva narrative while Prime Minister Narendra Modi projects himself as the man for development." According to the report, Adityanath's exponential mentions of Hindu deities has been proportional with saffron organisations' efforts for the Ram Mandir in Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya.

In Madhya Pradesh, Adityanath kept up his divisive diatribe in response to a video of state Congress chief Kamal Nath asking for Muslim leaders to ensure that 90 percent of the community votes for the Congress. Adityanath, in a blatantly communal comment, said that the Congress could "keep their Ali", while "Bajrang Bali was enough" for the saffron party. According to reports, he also said, "I recently read a statement by Kamal Nathji that the Congress does not need SC/ST votes. The Congress only wants Muslim votes."

In his speeches during the run-up to Chhattisgarh's Assembly elections, Adityanath targetted the Congress and accused the party of favouring Maoists, who have caused disruptions with violence for decades. He also said that the Congress had supported "forced conversions" of the people by Christian missionaries, and engaged in corruption and terrorism during its tenure.

On the 10th anniversary of the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, Adityanath said that the Congress was responsible for an alleged rise of terrorism in the country. During a rally in Rajasthan, which will vote in Assembly elections on 7 December, Adityanath said, "Congress has done divisive politics. As a result of that, terrorism was at its peak in the country (during Congress rule). Today, you can see that the terrorists who were fed with biryani by the Congress are now being gunned down by us."

Adityanath held significant number of public meetings in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan individually. The Uttar Pradesh chief minister addressed 11 public meetings in Rajasthan over the course of two days.

A report by LiveMint quoted a BJP official who said, "Well he is an asset for us in these Hindi speaking states, especially in those parts which border Uttar Pradesh. In fact, many candidates in these states and even in Telangana have preferred Yogi ji to even Modi ji because Hindutva matters more in their constituencies than development," who added that Adityanath's appeal as a campaigner was noticed by the party during the Karnataka elections in May 2018.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2018 16:02:28 IST