Saffron Swami and Consolidation of Power

Saffron Swami and Consolidation of Power

Yogi Adityanath—the mascot of hardline Hindutva—will be the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Held to be the Hindi heartland of India, UP is the most populous state in the Indian federation. Given its size and the number of assembly and parliamentary seats, the state can be held to be the centre of gravity of India’s politics. Adityanath, it may be pertinent to mention, not only has made what would amount to incendiary hate speech elsewhere, but there are criminal cases lodged against him. So why has Swami Adityanath been elevated over others to the highest seat of power in Uttar Pradesh. Informed speculation would lend itself to two interpretations about this. One is that the far-right BJP is in consolidation phase: given that the party is inexorably winning power, it is placing its loyalists in positions of power across India. This would allow the BJP to seamlessly put its policy paradigms and ideological predilections into practice. Execution, given that key positions would be held by loyalists and ideologues, would be easier and this would also allow the party to circumvent India’s federalism. Another interpretation is that the BJP, till now, has not really reified or rendered its ideological planks—abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, the Mosque Mandir issue, or the Uniform Civil Code, and so on—real and/or institutionalised these. These are issues that are the raison d’etre of the Sangh Parivar—the sister organisations of the BJP—and from which the far right party derives succour and even support. Given the fact that the BJP has till now not don’t anything substantive in terms of these issues, this could possibly have led to a degree of estrangement between the BJP and the RSS and the VHP—the components of the Sangh Parivar. Adityanath’s elevation to the chief ministership of Uttar Pradesh might be an attempt to mollify and keep the rest of the Sangh Parivar in good humour. Whatever be the case and whatever reason be the real one for Adityanath being chief minister of UP, things look ominous in India. The BJP appears to be committed to its Idea of India, that is, an India which has a clear cut Hindu ingress, institutionally, politically and ideologically. This India would be a country defined by polarities and stark dichotomies wherein shades of grey would not be countenanced. Whether or not, there will be a counter narrative or contrapuntal to BJP’s Idea of India will depend essentially upon the peoples of India, who at the moment, if the UP elections are held to be indicative, are high on a saffron wave.

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One Response to "Saffron Swami and Consolidation of Power"

  1. G. Din   March 22, 2017 at 12:24 am

    “Contrapuntal” – nice word, bad politics

    Reply

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