Several months ago, BJP MLA NVSS Prabhakar who is known for his greater proximity with Hindutva outfits told the TRS government in Telangana that Yogi Adityanath will be born in Telangana to oust the KCR regime. He was apparently referring to the BJP strategy of repeating the Yogi brand of politics in the key southern state.
The state with over 12 percent Muslim population and Muslim political consolidation in the form of AIMIM, especially in the state capital Hyderabad, has the perfect mix for practising the Yogi brand of politics. Right on the eve of the elections, the BJP roped in Swami Paripoornananda in the elections. Though there was speculation that Paripoornananda would be presented as the BJP's chief Ministerial face in the state, he more or less confined to campaigning for the party's candidates.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was brought in as the star campaigner. Not just Yogi, even BJP president Amit Shah, right from the beginning of the campaign, was focussing on the AIMIM's stranglehold in the state polity and power apparatus. The TRS-AIMIM bonhomie was the prime target of the BJP. The saffron party didn't spare the Congress either for having nexus with Asaduddin Owaisi during its decade-long regime in the pre-bifurcated Andhra Pradesh.
The BJP leaders were also quick to point out the reported statement of Asaduddin's younger brother and AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi that let there be any government in Telangana, it had to surrender to MIM. Thus, the BJP was appealing to the people of Telangana to vote for BJP to liberate the state formerly ruled by the Nizams, from the clutches of AIMIM. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the chorus, referring to the Muslim appeasement politics of TRS and the Congress during his election meeting at Mahbubnagar.
Yogi has even promised to change the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar, thus the politics of name changing traveled a long distance from Uttar Pradesh to the south of the Vindhyas. Even the Ram Mandir figured in Yogi's campaign. Besides, the 12 percent Muslim quota of KCR regime also came under fire from the top BJP leadership like Yogi, Amit Shah, and even Modi.
Despite the politics of polarisation, the saffron party failed to make any significant impact on the fortunes of TRS which is heading for a landslide victory in Telangana. As per the latest reports, the BJP is struggling hard to retain its seats including in Hyderabad where it has had a reasonable presence in the past. Thus, it is clear from the results, though a detailed analysis of voting patterns need to be probed further, the politics of polarisation presided over by Yogi and Shah failed to work in Telangana.
The BJP's bitter criticism did not carry any credence as the party is not considered by the Telangana electorate as a serious contender for power and a credible opposition for KCR. This is evident from the fact that notwithstanding the party's sharp criticism of KCR, BJP state president K Laxman did not even wait till the results and offered his party's support to TRS minus AIMIM if it falls short of a majority, with the proclaimed objective of keeping the Congress out of power. This shows that polarisation politics works in states where the saffron party is a serious player.
The TRS government, especially KCR, enjoys a positive image and his welfare scheme have benefitted all sections cutting across caste and religion. Given the welfarism, polarisation did not attract the voter.
The Telangana movement saw a secular mobilisation and the region has a culture of religious harmony often described as Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. The state and the city of Hyderabad have not seen any major communal flare up for decades now. All these factors make Telangana terrain unsuitable for the Yogi brand of political mobilisation.
Yogi is a political pilgrim as the TRS describes. The state BJP failed to produce any such leader of some stature in Telangana. Though BJP MLA from Goshamahal Hyderabad, Raja Singh, is notoriously known for his highly communal statements, they often fail to attract any mainstream audience or debate and are seen as aberrations in state polity which is largely not so vulnerable to the communal conflagration.
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Updated Date: Jan 08, 2019 13:10:23 IST