UTTAR PRADESH has done it again. The year began with communal violence at Kasganj; mid-year, a clash broke out between two communities at Shahjahanpur; Moharram processions saw rioting in September. Interspersed were incidents of mob lynching and ‘fake’ police encounters. As the year nears its end, it is Bulandshahr, where a police inspector and a youth were killed and five policemen injured in mob violence following the discovery of suspected cow carcass in the fields of a former gram pradhan. Five Rapid Action Force companies and additional companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary have been rushed to the district. The State, whose ‘saint-and-king’ Yogi Adityanath exercises autocratic sway, is a picture of social anarchy.
It is a delicate time for Indian polity, poised for the high-stakes 2019 General Election. The odds are compelling — for the king, kingmakers, and those seeking ‘The Throne’. The fight more exacting than ever. With no clear ‘wave’, all is fair: inversion of truth, polarisation, lynchings and social mayhem. Anything for that one vote! And so, in that self-proclaimed Hindutva spirit, UP Chief Minister-cum-Chief Campaigner Yogi Adityanath has diligently taken upon himself to show how a State is run: to Telangana, learn from UP: say the name, we will change it (Hyderabad is potential ‘Bhagyanagar’); to Kerala, see how we run hospitals; to the credulous masses: a 220-metre Lord Ram statue. To rivals, the warning: you will be forced to flee.
If Mr Yogi would care to see, UP is no good guide in matters of governance. Ahead of his visit to an Agra hospital, patients and kin were ‘locked’ up. In his home turf, Gorakhpur, several children died at a government hospital for want of oxygen cylinders. An agenda that isn’t for all and confines select sections to the cold fringes can’t inspire. Home Minister Rajnath Singh claims: ‘We don’t believe in doing politics on the basis of caste, race or religion. Justice and humanity are the basis of our politics.’ If only our leaders practise it, the last Hindu, and non-Hindu vote, would be theirs.