Why BJP chose Yogi Adityanath as UP chief minister

The installation of five-time parliamentarian Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh has come a surprise for the media mainly due to his controversial remarks targeting the minority community. What came as an even bigger surprise is that Adityanath, who has represented Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency in eastern part of UP since 1998, occupies the top post in the state without any previous experience as an administrator. It is not that the BJP did not have leaders with administrative track record for the post of UP chief minister. There were persons like federal ministers like Rajnath Singh and Manoj Sinha. And yet the mantle fell on Aditynath. In political circles, Adityanath’s appointment as chief minister is being viewed as a powerful signal to the electorate in UP ahead of the national elections in 2019. The BJP is convinced that the consolidation of votes in recent assembly elections in the state was no flash in the pan as was evident in Lok Sabha polls in 2014. This is a trend which the party believes has come here to stay at least till the 2019 national elections in a state where the politics of erstwhile ruling parties, Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, thrived on pandering to caste and religious fault lines.
By choosing Adityanath to govern India’s largest state, the top BJP leadership has sent across a strong message that it will not be apologetic about its Hindu nationalist credentials and that the country must be ready to expect the unexpected from the party. If BJP finds that the political message of having Adityanath as chief minister works till the next parliamentary polls, it’s fine. But if development take a back seat in the next two years, there is always scope for a mid-course correction because there will be still three years left for the next assembly elections in the state.

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Historic moment for BJP in UP, Congress scores in Punjab

It’s set to be a special ‘Holi’ for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party he leads. Saffron is the reigning colour as wild celebrations erupted outside the BJP’s national headquarters in Delhi and UP’s capital city of Lucknow. Swamped by fervour of this huge victory, party activists splashed a rainbow of colours, distributed sweets and set off crackers.
Riding the crest of a spectacular Modi wave, the party is poised for an unprecedented landslide victory in the elections to the legislature in the politically key state of Uttar Pradesh. This is the first major test of Mr Modi’s popularity since last year’s demonetization aimed at curbing black money.
As trends emerged from the counting of ballots in legislative elections in UP and four other states, the BJP is also set to return to power with a thumping majority in the adjacent northern Himalayan state of Uttarakhand after a break of five years, voting out the Congress party led by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.
However, the Congress is all set to roar back to power in Punjab state and coastal state of Goa after hiatus of a decade and is locked in a close battle with the BJP in the north eastern state of Manipur.
The victory in UP is crucial for prospects of Mr Modi and BJP in the 2019 parliamentary elections for a second successive five-year tenure as the northern state has the largest number of Lok Sabha seats – 80 out of the total 543 seats in the Lower House of Parliament.

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Saffron sweep for BJP in UP, Modi wave swamps rivals

In a spectacular saffron sweep, the Bharatiya Janata Party is heading for a landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state and the epicentre of the country’s politics.
Latest trends indicate that the BJP, which heads the ruling coalition at the Centre, looks set to gain over 300 seats in the 403-seat assembly in UP.
It’s clearly a big moment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who campaigned extensively across the seat and staked his personal reputation in the UP elections. Mr Modi’s charisma and his rallying slogan of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” (inclusive development) seems to have smashed the entrenched caste arithmetic that had traditionally worked in favour of regional parties like Samajwadi Party and BSP in the past. The electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh bears the Modi stamp, but it could not have been possible without 24×7 strategizing and organisational skills of BJP president Amit Shah.
The BJP’s victory is also seen as a big endorsement for Mr Modi’s controversial demonetisation, which was aimed at cleansing black money out of the system. Demonetisation was widely criticised by some opposition parties, but the BJP’s victory in India’s most populous state is expected to silence all critics.

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Exit polls upbeat about BJP’s prospects in UP

Exit polls broadcast by Indian television channels have projected India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead in the key state of Uttar Pradesh while Congress is poised to return to power in the northern state of Punjab after a ten-year hiatus.
Most of the exit polls are unanimous that BJP is expected to return to power in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand the coastal state of Goa.
The BJP also appears set to win north-eastern state of Manipur from the Congress. If that happens in actual counting of ballots on March 11, this will be the second state in the region to have a BJP government after Assam.
However, here is a word of caution: Indian exit polls often go off the mark.
The high-pitched Assembly elections in the five states of UP, Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Manipur concluded on March 8 with the last phase polling in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur. The polling in all other states – Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand – came to an end earlier.

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‘Hate killing’ of Indian in Kansas: Sifting rhetoric from facts

Was it a hate crime? Was US President Donald Trump, with his anti-immigrant rhetoric, complicit in the racially motivated killing of a young Indian IT professional by an enraged drunk white man in Kansas? These are all-too-real questions to ask, but are not of much solace to the wife of Sunayana Dumala, whose husband Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was killed at Austins Bar and Grill in Kansas on February 23.
For the 32-year-old Kuchibhotla, it was a tragic and violent end to his American dream, which was all the more saddening as it happened in “a country he loved so much,” as his wife said. “Get out of my country,” – these were the last words yelled out by his killer he heard before he was shot dead by Adam Purinton, an American charged for drunk driving more than once.
This is a huge presumption of innocence as hate killings like these, though perpetrated by maniacs, feed on an atmosphere of jingoism and racism.
The insane killing like this one is clearly a morale dampener for the over 3-million strong Indian community that has made America their home. The incident questions the foundational myth of America as a country welcoming of immigrants. In the days to come, as New Delhi builds ties with the new US administration, it should carefully monitor rhetoric emanating from white supremacists in Washington as it could unintentionally endanger the lives of Indians who have enriched their adopted country in countless ways, but are now vulnerable to xenophobes of all stripes.

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