UP new CM Yogi Adityanath: Has Modi goofed up by having a fanatic Hindutva man at helm in Uttar Pradesh?

Whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad with power.

Before we believe that the heady UP win has risen to Prime Minister Modi’s head, we need to dissect, for just a brief sliver of a moment, if he isn’t putting his credibility on the line. Good soldiers they say stand in front of the charge. Is Modi doing that and taking the bullet by placing Yogi Adityanath at the helm of affairs? Is the prime minister trying to send out the message that the worst of us will now be the best of us?

Yogi Adityanath elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party in Lucknow on Saturday. PTI

Yogi Adityanath elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party in Lucknow on Saturday. PTI

As chief minister of UP, if Yogi Adityanath has a change of heart and plays fair, Modi has the evidence to show that the party is honest about its promise of equality, secularism and transparency. By positioning the chap in the catbird seat, Modi could well have cut his wings and stopped him from being rabid like you might defang a serpent and let it turn into a tame specimen. Or so Modi thinks.

But is there a guarantee that the serpent will stay still for long enough?

Was Modi being too clever? Possible. Is this experiment of sorts unworkable? Even more possible.

If the hate filled history of Yogi Adityanath triumphs over the prime minister's ‘experiment’ in a state known for being communally sensitive, then this could be the beginning of the dissolution of the Modi-can-do-no-wrong magic. After all, Adityanath is the man who has, in the past, espoused the idea of Ghar wapsi (conversion, or as Hindu forces call it, re-conversion, of minorities to Hinduism).

But whatever the compulsion would have been, anointing Adityanath as the UP chief minister was one heck of a risk to take, almost scary and cultish.

Let’s not go into the controversies that dot Adityanath's past or be carried away by the saffron robes he dons. The fact is, in our democracy, criminals, crooks, charlatans, cultists and the religiously intolerant are all permitted to stand for elections despite the stains on their record.

But at this exact point in time, it is more important to know why Modi would have done this, despite having literally taken responsibility of the state on himself in this election.

If Modi could send Manohar Parrikar, the then defence minister, to Goa in the lack of a better administrator, then surely he could have dispatched someone else from Delhi to head UP. At this juncture nobody would questioned the prime minister's choice.

When rumours began to filter in, a couple of days ago, that Adityanath was a probable, most people thought it was an anti-Modi ploy designed to express jealousy and rage.

But now one has no choice but to be concerned because leopards do not change their spots and this appointment is open to interpretation. Casteist Hindus or extremist forces can take it as an invitation to go for it, as far as other religions or sects are concerned. Why did Modi take such a chance?

It is often said that you get the government you deserve. Is this what Uttar Pradesh voted for? It's now time to see if the saffron colour runs red or stands for peace and tranquility. Yogi Adityanath, the fate of the nation is truly in your hands.

Updated Date: Mar 19, 2017 10:43 AM

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