Days after Yogi Adityanath, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, welcomed the Supreme Court's ruling against soliciting for votes on the basis of religion, he got the cold shoulder from the party.
Tensions within the BJP became apparent when Adityanath left the national executive meeting of the party in Delhi midway and went back to Lucknow. His decision, apparently, was sparked off by the party's refusal to let him address the meeting. As a result, he decided to skip the concluding day of the meet, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was supposed to address the gathering.
Hindutva hardliner Adityanath's personal organisation, Hindu Yuva Vahini, has been trying to leverage political control over Gorakhpur and the neighbouring districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, independent of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliate, the BJP. Like the RSS, Adityanath's outfit claims to be a cultural organisation, but its interests are entrenched in politics.
Let alone securing a ministerial role in Modi's Cabinet, the ambitious Thakur leader hasn't been offered a leadership position in his state by the BJP. To make matters worse, Adityanath's rivals Shiv Pratap Shukla and Ramapatiram Tripathi, two Brahmin leaders from Gorakhpur, have been announced as part of the 27-member election committee in UP.
Political watchers say Adityanath's Hindu Yuva Vahini has considerable influence in eastern UP and may prove to be a risk to the BJP if they, and their leader, are placated in time for the polls.
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