It was until 2017 that the current Uttar Pradesh chief minister of the BJP – Yogi Adityanath, had been confined to the state politics, despite winning five times from the Gorakhpur parliamentary constituency.
However, following him being selected as the chief minister of the most populous state in the country, the onetime preacher turned politician, known for his portrayal as a firebrand leader with a penchant for the Hindutva ideology had been among the star campaigners during the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections.,
Adityanath’s rise to become the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh had surprised many both within and outside of the BJP. This is so because names of some very senior BJP leaders – including that of Rajnath Singh, Manoj Sinha and Keshav Prasad Maurya, had been floating around. However, BJP national president Amit Shah and prime minister Narendra Modi had reportedly decided on the name of Adityanath. This saffron clad politician has been in the limelight ever since and had conducted important duties in the multiple state elections since becoming the chief minister.
Apart from Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Adityanath had also been a fierce campaigner for the saffron party in Tripura and had been conspicuous in his speeches in fighting the so called “red terror” in Kerala on the saffron flag bearers.
The Karnataka election was supposed to be no exception for this start campaigner. It had been reported that the successful campaigns by the leader in multiple states had made him a sure shot campaigner for the BJP for the Karnataka election – one where the BJP and the congress are going head to head. And it had started – with the UP CM addressing three election rallies in Hubbali, Bengaluru and Mangaluru in the state.
It was evident that the strategy of the BJP was to reinvigorate the Hindutva rhetoric through an authoritative Hindutva figure like Yogi to counter the pro-Hindu narrative of Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah. This was evident as issues such as cow slaughter, deaths of Hindu karyakartas and other topics related to Hindutva ideology were being brought up in the election rallies that he was addressing. At that time, the rants form Adityanath had gained significant political attention in Karnataka.
However, he was suddenly hit by a debacle in a by-election for the Gorakhpur parliament constituency even as he was providing tough challenge to Siddaramaiah in Karnataka on the Hindu identity. The seat – Gorakhpur, that Adityanath had won five times and had practically made it his own, saw the BJP candidate losing to a coalition between the SP and the BSP. There were questions raised on the effectiveness of Yogi Adityanath’s campaigning because he had been very active in campaigning in the constituency for the by-polls.
Yogi Adityanath was even criticized by the Congress in Karnataka through Twitter for having failed to win the Gorakhpur seat. Karnataka chief minister had asked Yogi Adityanath not to lecture Karnataka on development.
And he has been out of the campaigning in Karnataka for the BJP for some time now.
Questions are being raised about whether Yogi Adiyanath will no more be used by the BJP for the Karnataka elections. Even though there were reports citing state BJP sources claiming a return of Yogi to the election campaign there, but no definitive indication has yet been found of that.
And considering that the Karnataka elections is just a month away, and with BJP not mentioning his name as a speaker in the election rallies in the next 15 days or so, questions are justifiably being asked whether Yogi Adityanath has been shunted form the Karnataka elections because of the BJP defeat in Gorakhpur.
(Adapted from MoneyControl.com)