It was not after all an easy task for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pick the new Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister as it was in other states like Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand.
There were many in the race, some of them the favourites of the two most powerful men in the country. But on March 18, the saffron party surprised everyone by announcing Yogi Adityanath as the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, because the firebrand Gorakpur MP wasn’t the first choice of the Modi-Shah duo.
Till Friday Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha was the frontrunner for the top post in the politically crucial state of India. However, things changed on March 18, after Shah called Adityanath to Delhi for a meeting.
The election of Yogi Adityanath as BJP’s choice to head UP may be a risky one, given his firebrand Hindutva credentials, but he ticks all the right boxes when it comes to delivering good results in the 2019 general elections.
Amid criticism and appreciation, Adityanath will become the chief minister today. Here are a few reasons why Adityanath as UP CM makes perfect sense for the BJP:
- Adityanath’s appointment makes sure that state’s Hindutva-brigade will rally behind the saffron party in UP, and majoritarianism will help the BJP retain current clout in the state.
- On caste lines, he will get the support of two large communities – Upper Caste Hindus, as Adityanath is the Mahant (Supreme Priest) of Gorakhpur Math and they are his true followers. At the same time he belongs to the Thakur community, representing another big BJP vote bank. With that, Adityanath can help the party keep intact its traditional voters.
- Adityanath’s earlier rejection of different roles at the Centre had irked the people in Eastern UP. Disappointing him this time would have been ‘deadly’ for the party. With this decision, BJP has played a masterstroke, as the party will retain its voters in Eastern UP, which is notably a stronghold of Yogi.
- The selection of Yogi Adityanath will make the party strong in western UP as well. The western part of the state is always divided on the communal lines and with leaders like Adityanath, the BJP can easily polarize the voters in 2019. Massive polarization is necessary to win an election and the BJP knows it very well.
- Under Yogi Adityanath’s leadership, the issue of Ram Temple won’t fade away. As always, the Ram Temple issue will once again help the saffron party in retaining a good chunk of voters in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.
- By making Yogi the CM of India’s most politically significant state, the BJP has gained the trust of the pro-Hindutava and pro-Hindu Rashtra voters. Also, by appointing Dinesh Sharma as the deputy CM, the traditional Brahmin voters won’t ditch the party and with Keshav Prasad Maurya in the same role, the MBC voters will extend their support to the BJP in 2019 as well.