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HomeOpinionPolitically CorrectUP CM Adityanath emerges as Modi’s nearest political clone, another potential successor

UP CM Adityanath emerges as Modi’s nearest political clone, another potential successor

UP chief minister Adityanath skipping his father’s funeral is being projected as the biggest testimony to his dedication to work and administrative efficiency.

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When Yogi Adityanath’s father died last week, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister was in a meeting with officials over Covid-19. The next day’s newspapers were full of vivid details about how he, with moist eyes, continued the meeting, and how he wore the mask the entire day, ostensibly to hide his tears.

He later wrote a letter to his grieving mother, informing her that he had wanted to see his father in his “last moments” but couldn’t because of his “kartavyabodh”, or sense of duty, to the 23 crore people of Uttar Pradesh. It’s not known when the letter reached the mother, but Lucknow media got to see it in no time.

In the letter, the CM said he wouldn’t be able to attend the funeral of his “purvashram ke janmadata”, or father of the ‘former world’ – before he took sanyas — for the success of the lockdown.

The past week has seen reels of paper being written on his transformation from Ajay Singh Bisht, who left home in 1992 at the age of 20, into Yogi Adityanath, the ‘saint’ who forsook his family to work for the people. A TV channel interviewed his elder sister who sells flowers and runs a dhaba to earn her livelihood in a nondescript Uttarakhand village.

Also read: Pool testing should be encouraged in UP to ensure Covid-19 is contained: CM Adityanath

Yogi administration: Three years vs one month

The chief minister’s sacrifice and his asceticism have captured popular imagination, especially when panic-stricken people are clutching at every straw of hope in their fight against the coronavirus. The common refrain in UP now is that CM Adityanath kept the people above his family, their interests above his personal loss. Even his critics are guarded now. “There was nothing to talk about his first three years in office, except how he tried to polarise the people along communal lines. But his Covid-19 management and then this decision to not attend his father’s funeral have gone down well with the people,” a friend, a keen political observer, told me over the phone.

My colleague in Lucknow, Prashant Srivastava, concurred: “The last one month has changed his entire three years’ record in office. People are calling me to say, which CM would ignore such a tragedy to do his duty.”

So now, no more questions are being raised about low testing — 61,799 in a population of 23 crore, as on Sunday. It was much worse a week before that. Nobody is even asking how the so-called Agra model of containment failed so soon.

Yogi Adityanath skipping his father’s funeral has suddenly become the biggest testimony to his dedication to work and administrative efficiency.

Also read: Yogi Adityanath bans all public gatherings in UP till 30 June

How Yogi models himself on Modi

Yogi Adityanath’s duty-before-the-family decision has propelled him into the league of leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi who left their families behind to devote their lives to the uplift of the people. From Day 1 in office, in fact, the UP chief minister has been modelling himself on Modi. As I wrote in Hindustan Times in March 2017, right after Yogi took oath, he started emulating Modi’s initiatives at the Centre in Lucknow: Biometric attendance in office; ministers to declare their assets; administration of swachhata (sanitation) oath to his officials; PowerPoint presentations; and, a 100-day agenda.

The CM made his ministers sit through hours of departmental presentations every day. When a minister wanted to know why he should attend all presentations, the chief minister reportedly quipped: “The departments can change, too.” In subsequent months and years, the ministers learnt to stay in the background–much like those at the Centre–as Yogi took the role of a Super CM with centralised command and control system.

The UP CM got his officials to look at the schemes and programmes implemented in Gujarat under former chief minister Narendra Modi. On the lines of Vibrant Gujarat summits, UP also organised an investor summit in 2018, although there are many questions about its achievements. If Modi wants to make India a $5 trillion economy, Yogi set the target of $1 trillion for UP. To this end, a Global Investors’ Summit was planned in February 2020, which has now been deferred to October-November.

In 2013, a media report claiming that the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi had visited flood-hit Uttarakhand and rescued 15,000 Gujaratis had created a buzz across India, first because of the tall claim in the report and then because of its rebuttal.

Seven years later, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister sent 300 buses to Kota in Rajasthan to evacuate thousands of stranded students from the state. A vernacular paper has called the CM “Hanuman” for this rescue act.

Yogi is following Modi’s model even in Covid-19 management. The Modi government set up 11 empowered committees comprising bureaucrats and two groups of ministers. Yogi has set up a ‘Team-11’, comprising senior bureaucrats, and 11 committees headed by ministers. Like Modi, the UP CM is also being projected as a tough administrator. In a leaked video, he was seen shouting at Gautam Budhha Nagar DM — “ye bakwas band karo (stop this nonsense)”— before he shunted him out for his alleged failure to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Also read: UP CM Yogi asks senior officers to camp in worst-hit districts, oversee Covid-19 lockdown

Potential successor to Modi?

When Modi picked him up as chief minister, it was clear he had the backing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Yogi Adityanath ticked all the boxes. He was a seer of the influential Nath tradition, who was known for making incendiary speeches. The role of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, founded by him, often came into question in connection with communal clashes in and around Gorakhpur. He was a firebrand Hindutva proponent who allegedly said in a video clip (from his 2007 Azamgarh speech) that if one Hindu girl was converted, “we will also…100 Muslim girls” and “if they kill one Hindu, we will also…100….” Adityanath had then termed it a cut-and-paste job.

Thanks to his rabble-rousing speeches, he was soon to become one of the national campaigners of the BJP, who was drafted in to address public meetings across the country. After becoming the chief minister, he set up an anti-Romeo Squad against alleged love jihad, went after slaughter houses, defended police encounters and action against anti-CAA protesters.

He is well on his way to becoming another Hindu Hriday Samrat, who didn’t shy away from attending the ceremony to shift the Ram Lalla idol from the Ayodhya temple site despite social distancing norms being in place.

Trust Yogi to build on his newly crafted image of an honest, committed and no-nonsense administrator whose only family are the 23 crore people of Uttar Pradesh — much like Modi is to the entire country. The CM’s image as a Hindu Hriday Samrat is likely to get a boost ahead of the 2022 UP assembly elections when a grand temple is inaugurated in Ayodhya.

With an effete opposition that is content with Twitter politics, he may well be on his way to a second term in office in 2022. If that happens, he would have the best credentials in the BJP to aspire for the top job in the country whenever Modi decides to hang up his boots.

Views are personal.

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  1. ThPrint seems to be setup for a specific purpose of bringing back Congress Raaj. Seems a backup of TheWire

    • Mr Eric B: Anything wrong with that ? After all, the masses threw out AB Vajpayee’s BJP regime and brought back the Congress led UPA didn’t they ? Are do you perhaps believe that only Emperor Modi should rule India ?

    • Well said, it is quite evident with their coverage and projections of pro-congress perceptions.
      If a minister does his job well by keeping his work first, they will only see his saffron colour not the ” service first” intention and governance reflected from his actions.

  2. A PM wearing Saffron……………………… that would be the day. Trainloads of Burnol for Pidis

  3. It is the duty of PM to see that the people don’t suffer but by just asking to keep sitting at home is not the medicine. And if modi is really for the people I request him to ban the media at this crucial time who are clapping with one hand PM must not misguide people. For his fame. And pls ask Devandra Fadnivis to stop is bloody politics

  4. Potential successor to Modi: scary thought!
    this fake yogi is worse than the Gujrati duo put together. All have blood on their hands but Ajay Bisht is still in his own category of totally naked bigotry and violence.

    • Agree with you on that Ms Anamika – one bigoted saffron thug as a successor to another is indeed a scary thought. Alas not very improbable in today’s India. After all, the man who want Meerut to be renamed as Pandith Godse Nagar is the natural extrapolation from the man who did not stop the pogroms of Godhra … Scary indeed —

  5. Sir hum Sri SHYAMAL GANGULY ap se nebedan kar te he ki hum West Bengal se Asansol se he hum apne bahan ke ghar aye the
    Apke U.P Ke bareli me or is lockdown me 23 March se fashe huwye he sir please koi to upai he mya ab yaha se apna ghar Asansol jana chahta hm halpe me sir…
    Or jobhi abashk he wo me karunga… Sir 🙏

  6. I doubt Yogi would get elected. Don’t forget that there was more to Modi than him being an insane bigot. There isn’t more to Yogi.

    • Ms YourMum: The PM of India is not elected directly by the people but by the party he leads – either de facto or de jure. Hence, there is every likelihood that this rabble-rousing bigot who will plunge into your a veritable civil war is likely to get elected as PM. Indeed, India has shown a propensity to elect populistic personalities, regardless of their abilities. Smriti Irani, a certified know nothing won in Amethi. Pragya Thakur, a.k.a Sadhvi Pragya, despite her implication in a terror case, despite claiming that gomutra and cows made her breat cancer go away and depite being an avowed Godse worhsipper won handsomely in Bhopal, trouncing veteran Digvijay singh. Likewise, one of India’s biggest conme, Andimuthu Raja of 2G fame was re-elected handsomely and so on. Voters don’t care and the public memory is too short.

      As regards your other claim that ” there was more to Modi than him being an insane bigot”, well I wonder if the PM obtained his bragging rights from having destroyed the relatively well-functioning economy he inherited from MMS in 2014. And a man who is nothing more than a puppet of the RSS and the wider Sangh Parivar and with a pogrom under his belt has little bragging rights. And then, we forget that Adiyanath does have a Bachelo’rs degree in Mathematics from Garhwal University whilst the PM, despite his claims, does not have any papers from Delhi University.

  7. No, No , Big No. He will prove real annihilator of the party founded by a Britisher and headed by Italians , as That party will be never get Loksabha seats in double digit after 2029.

  8. Very True,
    Hanuman of 21st Century to serve the people of UP!

    Highly dedicated Chief minister.

  9. In a time of war, a soldier – in this case a general – does not leave his post. That act was worthy of admiration and respect. May the CM focus on the economic development of Uttar Pradesh. The second most consequential job in the country.

  10. Well let us wait and see how this plays out amongst the English speaking Indians especially South Indians when the over zealous police administration sent a police team to serve a summons on Mr Sidharth Varadarajan ,founding editor of on some vague charges.The police team travelled 700 odd KMs to book Mr SV. But then Yogi has a very good rating amongst the Hindi speaking People whose votes in Bimaru states can foist him as PM of this great India. But he need to keep an eye on Mr Amit Shah also fits the bill.

  11. Yogi is Modi’s successor and not potential successor as the headline claims. Modi deliberately chose Yogi as UP CM as he wanted a hard core Hindu leader spewing venom against Muslims as the future PM of India

    • Haan aur tere ladle mullo ke mooh se to phool khelte hain na.. tu ya to mulla hi hoga ya kisi mulle ki najayaz aulad

  12. Yogi Adityanath has a degree in Mathematics, is an excellent administrator, a very capable & honest leader and has dedicated his life to the state & nation. Even his harshest critics will admit this.
    Aren’t these the qualities that any nation seeks from its leader?

    What does the Dynastic Prince of India, Mr. Rahul Gandhi have to offer India as leader?

  13. What a load of BS. The truth is that he was a tramp and ran away from his family at young age. He had no emotional bond or attachment to his family. He rarely went to meet his family back in Uttarakhand. Now this is working in his favor. Lucky him.

  14. Journalists in “The Print” waste their Journalistic energy in predicting potential successor to Modi . One day,they project Yogi, than Nitin Gadkari, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh. etc. Journalists should understand BJP is a different kind of Political Party where no one work keeping in view for some higher aspiration in Party hierarchy. In BJP, Party interest comes first & individual interest comes next .Leadership as PM candidate will go to only to most acceptable Leader to People of India, his potential capacity to win Majority in Parliament, Perception of People & Party colleagues on PM candidate & his administrative ability etc counts & determined.

  15. Country will go to dogs…. Stop talking all these cruel things…. THIS COUNTRY IS ALREADY GRASPING FOR GOOD LEADERS PLEASE DON’T KILL THE DEMOCRACY FOR GOD SAKE

  16. No doubt U.P. C.M. is the POTENTIAL SUCCESSOR to MODI JI and SAVIOUR FOR BHARATHAM. BJP has strong leadership in line with Amit Shah Ji, Fadnavis etc., They also have family aspirants,viz., YEDIYURAPPA .

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