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The life and journey of Yogi Adityanath

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Aman Sinha
Software Engineer by profession, Aman is highly politically opinionated with his thoughts belonging to centre-right part of the political graphs. Apart from being bashed by liberals for his political views, he is a music enthusiast. He belongs to the old school of rock and roll and his favourite band is Led Zeppelin. You can discuss music, politics and sports with him and you will never be disappointed.

Once Shah Rukh Khan said in an interview, “You can take away all the fame and all the money, you can take away all the love and you can fill your hearts with hatred for me, but you can never take away the fact that I became Shah Rukh Khan. That journey, no can take away from me.

The journey is an important aspect of your personality. Those born with silver spoons often fail to recognise that.

Yogi Adityanath was born as Ajay Mohan Bisht on 5 June 1972 in the village of Panchur, in Pauri Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh (now in Uttarakhand). He left his home around the 1990s to join the Ayodhya Ram temple movement. Around that time, he also came under the influence of Mahant Avaidyanath, the chief priest of the Gorakhnath Math and became his disciple. Subsequently, he was given the name ‘Yogi Adityanath’ and designated as the successor of the Mahant Avaidyanath.

Young Yogiji

Unlike some politicians, Yogi didn’t have parents who passed on the political bastion to him. He has worked his way up the ladder to become the Chief Minister of the largest state in the country. Yogi’s political journey began in 1996 when he was appointed by his mentor Mahant Avaidyanath, the president of Hindu Mahasabha, as the in-charge of managing the election campaign. Both of them kept Hindutva at the forefront of their election campaign. He is also the founder of Hindu Yuva Vahini, a social, cultural and nationalist group of young people with the agenda of making India a Hindu Rashtra.

Proud devotee

Yogi was first elected to the parliament in 1998 becoming the youngest MP in the 12th Loksabha. Since then, there has been no turning back and the people of Gorakhpur voted him back to the parliament in every election(1998,99,04,09,14). He became a 5-time parliamentarian, a very proficient one to say the least, at the age of just 42 (considering people nearing 50 are still considered to be youth icons). He achieved all the success despite having a pretty ordinary surname and he deserves all the credit for that.

He has not had it easy with his own party. There have been recurrent tensions between Yogi and the BJP leadership over the allocation of election tickets. However, the BJP has not let the tensions mount because Yogi has served as a star campaigner for the party. He often derided and undermined the BJP, criticising its dilution of the Hindutva ideology. Having established his own independent power base in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, with the support of the Hindu Yuva Vahini and the Gorakhnath Math, he felt confident to be able to dictate terms to the BJP. When his voice was not heard, he revolted by fielding candidates against the official BJP candidates. The most prominent example was the fielding of Radha Mohan Das Agarwal from Gorakhpur on a Hindu Mahasabha ticket in 2002, who then defeated BJP Cabinet minister, Shiv Pratap Shukla by a wide margin. In 2007, Yogi threatened to field 70 candidates for the state assembly against the BJP candidates. But he reached a compromise in the end. In 2009 Parliamentary elections, Yogi was rumoured to have campaigned against the BJP candidates who were then defeated. In March 2010, Yogi was one of the several BJP MPs who defied the party whip on the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Parliament. Despite his periodic revolt, when the time came for the party to select the CM for Uttar Pradesh, the party decided to go with merit and give Yogi what he deserved. This says quite a lot about the party too.

On 19 March 2017, he was sworn in as the CM, after the BJP won the assembly elections. The illegal slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh faced shutdowns from the administration after his becoming the Chief Minister. Yogi ordered the forming of anti-romeo squads. He imposed a blanket ban on cow-smuggling and stay on UPPSC results, exams and interviews until further order. He imposed a ban on tobacco, pan and gutka in government offices across the state and made the officials pledge to devote 100 hours every year for the Swachh Bharat Mission. More than 100 policemen were suspended by the Uttar Pradesh police.

Yogi Adityanath as CM of UP

After becoming the CM of UP, he kept around 36 ministries to himself including Home, Housing, Town and country planning department, Revenue, Food and Civil Supplies, Food Security and drug administration, Economics and statistics, Mines and Minerals, Flood control, stamp and registry, prison, general administration, secretarial administration, vigilance, personnel and appointment, information, institutional finance, planning, estate department, urban land, UP state reorganisation committee, administration reforms, programme implementation, national integration, infrastructure, coordination, language, external aided project, Relief and Rehabilitation, Public Service Management, Rent Control, Consumer protection, weights and measures.

In his first cabinet meeting held on 4 April 2017, a decision was taken to waive off loans of nearly 87 lakh small and marginal farmers of Uttar Pradesh, amounting to ₹363.59 billion (US$5.1 billion).[50][51] For India’s Independence Day celebrations in 2017, his government singled-out Muslim religious schools to provide video evidence that their students had sung the Indian national anthem.

The New York Times relayed analysts’ estimations of Adityanath as a candidate for Prime Minister of India in 2024, provided he “delivers on some fronts”. On a personal level, I would like to see him as the CM for one more term and that would automatically make him the prime candidate for the office of Prime Minister. He is someone who will definitely take forward the ideologies of the Indian right in the correct direction.

Comparison of Yogi as a politician with India’s prime opposition leader

Rahul Gandhi is going to be 50 in a fortnight. Born to the Gandhi family, he was India’s PM in waiting since birth. Being his 4th term as MP, he was first elected to the parliament from Amethi, a constituency which has been represented by his mother, father and uncle previously. He has been the General Secretary, President and Incharge of the youth wing of Indian National Congress. He couldn’t even save his family bastion in the 2019 election and had to get himself elected from a seat which didn’t have the presence of any credible opposition. Since 2014, his attendance has been a mere 52%, participated in 14 debates, asked 0 questions and introduced 0 private member bill.

Yogi Adityanath turned 48 today. He was born to a forest ranger and he left his home at the age of 21 to become a disciple of Mahant Avaidyanath. In 1996, he started working as a campaign manager for Mahant. In 1998, at the age of 26, he became the youngest MP to be elected to the 12th Loksabha. Since then, he has been elected to the parliament every single time(1998, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014). In the 16th Lok Sabha, for the three years he spent in the parliament before becoming the CM, he had an attendance of 72%, asked 284 questions, participated in 56 debates and introduced 3 private member bills.

As Yogi continues to redefine development politics in this country, his opposition will rise but if he continues to be in the path he is, the opposition will fail tremendously. At the end of his career, when he will look back, he will find a chapter on himself in the book of Indian Politics.

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Aman Sinha
Software Engineer by profession, Aman is highly politically opinionated with his thoughts belonging to centre-right part of the political graphs. Apart from being bashed by liberals for his political views, he is a music enthusiast. He belongs to the old school of rock and roll and his favourite band is Led Zeppelin. You can discuss music, politics and sports with him and you will never be disappointed.

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