Yogi Adityanath is the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. As unbelievable as this might sound, this is a fact that cannot be wished away. Yogi Adityanath has been quite in the news owing to the multitude of statements he has made time and again, clearly announcing his religious preferences and his attitude towards other religious communities and the people of those communities. Most of these statements were so vitriolic and indefensible that many of the members of the core Hindutva ideology groups also had a tough time justifying these statements. The only justification that was heralded was that he was only one of the fringe elements and was far removed from the mainstream ruling party and its development agenda. It was also explained that the ruling party and the current Prime Minister had only growth and development of the nation on their minds (which had been a non-starter due to decades of mis-rule and corruption by the pseudo-seculars) and such ‘fringe elements’ were only to be ignored. It was also pointed out that anyone reading more into the unwillingness of the Prime Minister and the members of the ‘mainstream ruling party’ in severely castigating the now Chief Minister designate of UP, was only trying to unnecessarily exaggerate and blow things out of proportion.
The process has now begun. The path for movement of ‘fringe’ (if ever there was any) towards ‘mainstream’ has been laid down, that too, in concrete. The ‘fringe’ has been blessed, invited and welcomed into its fold by the ‘mainstream’. All the false, imaginary and artificial lines that separated the two have finally been erased purposefully. The ‘mainstream’ supporters of the ruling party and the ideology it stands for are rejoicing. The supporters at the ‘fringe’ have now suddenly been exposed. All the nuanced arguments of their thought process that they had laboriously built-up in their minds to justify to themselves and the world that the ‘mainstream’ and the ‘fringe’ was a water-tight separation, two parallel worlds that could never meet, have fallen completely flat. The ‘mainstream’ that they had so painstakingly created in their minds has finally become bold enough to throw away the cloak of neutrality and non-partisanship that it had worn till date. It has become bold enough to own up to its real agenda. The ‘hidden’ has come out in the open.
The real difficulty for the ‘fringe’ supporters now begins. Their much-beloved ‘mainstream’ party has announced its chosen path, leaving them with only two choices. One is that they too openly own up to their ‘hidden’ prejudices and biases, to their own ‘hidden’ Hindutva agenda, come out clean and then support their beloved party honestly, for what it stands and for what they stand. The second is, which they will be forced to choose, if they really were only pro-development and had no further hidden agendas, that they openly denounce this step of their beloved party and change course. This would require a courage of conviction and the dawning of an understanding that economic aspects cannot be separated from the social and the political. That no step can be seen completely in isolation from the other and judged on its own merit. That they would have to accept either the entire package or reject the whole of it.
However, what I have witnessed these past two-three days is a third path that these supporters have devised for themselves. Of continuing to persist in trying to save the false world they have built for themselves. Of putting forward arguments that are non-starters in the first place. So, it is argued now that a person deserves to be given one chance at least before writing him off, that bigger responsibilities are bound to make a person more responsible in his thoughts and actions, that the chosen one is much better and much more deserving than the alternatives, that a sweeping majority has already demonstrated the strength of peoples’ faith in the ruling dispensation and hence challenging its decision only confirms the case of ‘the grapes are sour’. Some go so far as to question one’s right of forming an opinion against a ‘Constitutional authority’ (whatever that is supposed to mean), and declaring that holding these doubts irrevocably proves one to be anti-national.
What really is it that this group of people is trying to argue? There can be only two possibilities. The first is that they are actually in favour of the complete agenda of the ruling dispensation, but overtly want to maintain that they are only pro-development and not pro-Hindutva. In this case, it is just a matter of time before they will clearly have to come out in the open, looking at the growing brazenness of their chosen party. The second is that they genuinely believe in the arguments that they are putting forward. That bigger responsibilities generally induce a sense of responsibility in an individual, and that everyone needs to be given a chance before writing them off. In this case, I have nothing more to say to them, only that, it is time that they wake up from their wishful thinking. The writing is on the wall and it is written in bold and clear letters, without an iota of doubt. And the truth, in this case too, is stranger and much more worrisome, than fiction.
Nivedita Dwivedi is pursuing MA in Elementary Education from Tata Institute of Social Sciences.