Political Line newsletter by Varghese K George

Political Line | Double-engine BJP campaign in UP; Mamata forays outside Bengal

(The Political Line newsletter is India’s political landscape explained every week by Varghese K. George, senior editor at The Hindu. You can subscribe here to get the newsletter in your inbox every Friday.)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to repeal the three contentious farm laws has set the tone for the forthcoming Assembly elections, particularly in the States of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. U.P. is the most crucial State for the BJP, and its ‘double-engine’ campaign is being led by Mr. Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. It is also double-themed, with communal appeals and development slogans. In western UP, laying the foundation stone for a new airport, both leaders spoke of development but the CM also sought to revive the Jat-Muslim social tensions that enabled the growth of the party in region. The Jats had mobilised against the BJP on farm laws, and made a coalition with Muslims, albeit tenuous. Minutes after Mr. Modi spoke of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas” at the airport event, Mr. Adityanath asked people to choose between the “sweetness of sugarcane” or “violence stoked by followers of Jinnah”. 

As if both the State and Central governments are not enough to drum up support for the BJP, the armed forces are also being roped in. Defence events in the State in recent days were all choreographed to send out political messages.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an event in Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh on November 19, 2021. Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are also seen. Photo: PIB via PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an event in Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh on November 19, 2021. Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are also seen. Photo: PIB via PTI  

Meanwhile, reports of friction between the two engines — the PM and CM — appears to have caused some heartburn for the BJP. A remedial measure came in the form of a picture tweeted by Mr. Adityanath of him intently listening to Mr. Modi. A poem with it said they were both on a determined journey to bring a new dawn, to make a new India. A picture speaks a thousand words, you try to figure that out. To me it appears that the purpose of this picture was to make three points ahead of the election.

 

First, that there is nothing wrong between the two, contrary to the never-ending speculation on the question. 

Secondly, Mr. Adityanath is more equal than other BJP CMs. Have you seen a similar picture of the PM with another BJP CM? Unlikely. Mr. Adityanath is special; Mr. Modi is willing to publicly demonstrate affinity towards him. In the social media universe of BJP fans, the UP CM has already been anointed Mr. Modi’s successor.  

The third point that the picture conveys is that Mr. Adityanath listens to Mr. Modi. Though there is affinity between the two, there is a hierarchy too.  

The double-engine, double-themed campaign of the BJP has begun in UP. Watch this space.

Kejriwal in Punjab, Mamata all over

The Aam Aadmi Party leader said only his party can give a stable and honest government in Punjab.

The Aam Aadmi Party leader said only his party can give a stable and honest government in Punjab.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party supremo has set his eyes on Punjab. He hopes the tug of war in the Congress, the unpopularity of the Akali Dal and the confusion being created by the BJP and the new outfit launched by former Congress CM Amarinder Singh will make the land fertile for this politics. True to style, his focus is on populist announcements. Touring the State this week, he has made several announcements to woo different segments of voters. A novel one is the promise of Rs 1,000 monthly to be given to all women above 18 years of age.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to build a national politics. She does not appear to have a coherent strategy, but the TMC is on an overdrive. “Whether all this is sufficient to catapult the TMC as the axis of anti-BJP politics nationally is an open question. At the moment, the TMC challenge is less to the BJP and more to the Congress,” our editorial points out

Federalism tract

The National Education Policy lays emphasis on imparting teaching in the mother tongue in primary classes. But when the language-base of Odisha’s adivasi communities is as diverse as 21 spoken languages further divided into 74 dialects, the task appears to be quite onerous, Satyasundar Barik writes.

Tribal students in their classroom at Hikimput village in Koraput district of Odisha.

Tribal students in their classroom at Hikimput village in Koraput district of Odisha.  

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said Assam, which is home to more than 64 languages, will be the laboratory of the NEP. There are some 180 languages spoken by communities and tribes in the Northeast and is the country’s strength. “I strongly believe the diversity of our language is the major unifying factor of our civilisation,” Mr. Pradhan said at an event in Guwahati.

Meanwhile, the decision by the BJP government in Assam to abolish the qualifying language paper for the State civil services examinations subject to fulfilment of three conditions — a candidate must be a resident of Assam, his/her name should be registered in the State employment exchange and the candidate must fluently speak either Assamese or other recognised languages of Assam — is being criticised by regional parties as an invitation to Hindi and Bengali speakers, at the instance of the RSS. The recognised languages would include Bodo or Bengali or any other tribal language of the State, and also Hindi.

The Chief Ministers of Assam and Mizoram met in New Delhi to discuss the border row between both States.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) signed with Bangladesh in 2014 ensured proper connectivity in the region.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) signed with Bangladesh in 2014 ensured proper connectivity in the region.   | Photo Credit: PTI

But borders will become less relevant and all States of the Northeast will be integrated through better rail and road connectivity, including to neighbouring Bangladesh, said Home Minister Amit Shah. “Pre-2014, differences were created between rest of India and the Northeast…..post-2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi worked to remove the emotional rift with people in the Northeast,” Mr. Shah said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 11:46:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/double-engine-bjp-campaign-in-up-mamata-forays-outside-bengal/article37716315.ece

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