A careful reading of the recent West Bengal Assembly election verdict is a reminder of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) efforts to cobble an arithmetic alliance of castes, regions and communities if they are to win Uttar Pradesh next year. The party’s drubbing in the recently coincided Panchayat polls has alarmed and alerted the party leadership for putting up a spirited show by claiming that its house is in order.
Indeed, the panchayat poll was a litmus test for the party throwing all its weight behind the suffering in Varanasi, Mathura and Ayodhya, the centre-stage of the BJP’s cultural nationalist politics. Maybe, it is because of this fact that BL Santhosh, BJP National General Secretary, was effectively roped in by the central party leadership to checkmate the brewing discontent arising out of Yogi Adityanath’s inept management of the Covid crisis.
Under Adityanath, the state saw dead bodies floating in the Ganges and state hospitals lacking proper medical resources and facilities for those infected by the deadly virus. Though Santosh met the BJP ministers and leaders in Lucknow separately, taking stock of the preparedness by the Yogi government’s planning for the third wave, there is more than what meets our eyes.
But, there is another side to this as well, for Yogi Adityanath, a spiritual seer from Gorakhpur, is taking tight control of the party affairs and has already created unease in New Delhi. His governance is being paralysed for the party’s rhetoric in pride and propaganda, impairing and impacting the articulations of their opinions. Those airing their grievances around the failure of meeting bare basic minimums are to be booked and reprimanded for those contesting and countering the policies and programmes of the Yogi administration. This does not bode well with the RSS treating Adityanath as an unnatural ideologue of the BJP.
A few days ago, Kalraj Mishra, a prominent Brahmin face from Uttar Pradesh, was being talked about as Yogi’s replacement in Uttar Pradesh, but not anymore, as it may sideline and alienate the upper caste Thakurs from the party’s fold. True, the party can’t afford such gamble at this point, which may lead to its fall.
This looks like a real possibility, given how the Brahmins have sharply reacted and responded to Yogi’s decorated and divisive billboard of communal hype, significantly othering and seconding the minorities from receiving the fruits of social welfare schemes. Brahmins, after Yadavs and Muslims, have been at the receiving end of Yogi’s policies, given how they been pictured, puzzled and painted by being falsely implicated and encountered.
The Vikas Dubey and Ankit Tiwari episode was not a one-off incident, but a carefully orchestrated and planned one. Certainly, this has the potential to play the spoiler spot for the BJP as the Yadav-Muslim and Brahmin combination is formidable for any political party to stake claim to power.
The Samajwadi Party has read the writing on the wall, with Akhilesh Yadav adopting to the choices of his constituents. It has to be seen how the BJP casts its cadres for reaching out to its core by singing praises for Adityanath, if at all that would work in creatively curating a perception of him that is far from being real and myopic.
Can they? Let’s be patient as drawing inferences may be competitive and challenging considering the unpredictability of the Uttar Pradesh electorate, where primordial and ascriptive loyalties and obedience are primary with the rest being subservient to it.