By Sushil Kutty
Fear is eating into the Bharatiya Janata Party that the dark-horse Congress could come from nowhere to upset the BJP’s applecart in Uttar Pradesh. Partly because Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the tip of the Congress thrust, is still an unknown quantity even if she’s a highly recognizable face in the whole of India.
The BJP’s apprehension is also anchored in the fear that the Samajwadi Party might have already cycled ahead! The BJP is banking on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to repeat BJP’s 2017 feat. If the Yogi succeeds, it will be after a long time that Uttar Pradesh will elect the same party to power in consecutive elections.
The problem is, the BJP is not sure that the Yogi can buck the trend. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s record stands out only on one front—law & order. Especially in staging encounters of gangsters. Yogi Adityanath set his police on gangsters with orders to rid the state of gangsters using the State’s might—license to kill, unfettered by legal consequences.
The “state terror” unleashed on the gangsters did not spare even petty criminals who were chased through sugarcane and riddled with bullets. Trigger-happy cops became the new “dabangs” of Uttar Pradesh and every policeman toting a rifle was like Salman Khan’s “Chulbul Pandey”.
The manner of the “assassination” of Kanpur gangster Vikas Dubey was symptomatic of the malaise. The man allegedly beat up a jeep-load of cops and “fled” only to be “hunted and shot down”. There was no question of “coldblooded murder” as some alleged. The Yogi basked in reflected glory.
Whoever said “small men” have “big egos” had the Yogi in mind. The Union Home Minister strongly believes the Yogi’s tough stand against criminals and crime will see the BJP through in 2022. A fortnight ago, after landing by IAF plane on the Eastern Expressway, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had similarly voiced his belief that the Yogi’s law & order record was superlative.
December 2, 2021, Amit Shah addressed a rally in Saharanpur and said law & order in UP was way better than when Akhilesh Yadav ruled the roost in Lucknow—“dacoity” rate had fallen 70 percent. Murders by 30 percent. He spoke of rapes but forgot to mention the Hathras gang-rape of a Dalit girl.
“Atrocities against Dalits” he completely forgot. It is as if the Dalit no longer lived in Uttar Pradesh. Like they had all lifted themselves out of poverty in Yogi Raj and left to lead swanky lives elsewhere! But the story doing the underground is that the Dalit in UP have either decided to vote against the BJP or were waking up to the BJP’s real face only now.
In Agra and Mathura there is a palpable shift in electoral sentiments. Shoemakers of Agra and neighbouring districts have realized their leather workers were living synthetic leather lives ever since 2017 when Yogi Adityanath shut down abattoirs and there was no genuine leather left to make shoes, only shiny synthetic. And Amit Shah can only talk of the annihilation of the Uttar Pradesh gangster!
What about the death of the leather industry in Uttar Pradesh? The shoe industry of Agra? The “real shoemakers” of Agra are suffering. And with them, their employers, too. The shoemakers are majority Dalit and Muslim. The “owners”, higher caste Hindu. Now, everybody is suffering—the Muslim, the Dalit, the high caste Hindu.
Reports say they will all vote for SP or the Congress. Amit Shah should get off the pedestal and take a walk in the streets of Agra and Mathura. When did actor and MP Hema Malini stroll the streets of Mathura, her Lok Sabha constituency? Uttar Pradesh’s deputy Chief Minister KP Maurya wants Lord Krishna to turn the tables on the electorate of Agra and Mathura. He doesn’t know what the BJP is facing — Krishna may have his own plans for the Bharatiya Janata Party. Both Keshav Prasad Maurya and Amitt Shah might be barking up the wrong trees! (IPA Service)