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For U.P. CM, trademark tough talk in Bulandshahr

COVID protocol goes for a toss at the BJP’s Bulandshahr rally.   | Photo Credit: Anuj Kumar

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath invoked the Kandhla and Kairana Hindu exodus controversy of 2016 and the killings that allegedly triggered the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots at an election rally in Bulandshahr on Thursday.

Scheduled for November 3, the bypoll to the Bulandshahr Sadar seat has been necessitated because of the demise of sitting BJP MLA Virendra Sirohi in March. The party has fielded his spouse Usha Sirohi in what seems like a triangular contest between the BJP, the Bahujan Samaj Party, and the Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal combine.

Mr. Adityanath talked about his government’s commitment to providing protection to “bahu, beti aur kisan (wife, daughter, farmer)” but didn’t mention the Hathras case where a Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped and killed by four upper-caste men. He didn’t defend the three Central farm laws either.

Instead, he focussed on “bulldozing the property of the mafia” and filling the criminals with fear. In the same vein, he criticised the Congress and SP for allegedly showing sympathy towards the members of Popular Front of India. Before him, the BJP leaders on stage talked about the action being taken against politicians facing criminal cases such as Mukhtar Ansari and Atique Ahmed but there was no mention of gangster Vikas Dubey.

Many feel the CM’s rally was triggered by the massive response that RLD chief Ajit Singh’s rally evoked last week. In a bid to nullify the possible traction of Jat/farmer vote towards the RLD, the BJP scored a significant coup by roping in six-time MLA and senior SP leader Kiran Pal Singh, who joined the party during the rally.

The audience went into raptures when the Chief Minister mentioned that the PM had finally put a date to the construction of Ram Temple. “Khush ho (Are you happy),” he asked twice.

In the Jat belt, Mr. Adityanath chastened Aligarh Muslim University for not being able to recognise the contribution of Raja Mahendra Pratap.

He invoked Chaudhary Charan Singh and said his government has fulfilled the dreams of the former Prime Minister by increasing the capacity of Ramala Sugar Mill in Baghpat.

After that, he reminded of the PM’s “sabka saath, sabka vikas” goal and said unlike previous governments, his government’s recruitment policy was fair and inclusive.

For Bulandshahr, he offered a medical college and reminded how the upcoming international airport in the neighbouring Jewar and Film City in Noida would provide opportunities to the youth of the district.

Norms flouted

The CM kept reminding the audience of the importance of wearing masks and following “do gaz ki doori (social distancing)” but the modest exhibition ground was bursting at the seams with audience flouting norms.

In fact, the party workers could be heard directing the police not to stop people from entering the venue.

Santosh Kumar Singh, the Bulandshahr SSP, said it was impractical to stop supporters once they turned up at the venue. “We could only ensure that police officials wore masks and offered sanitisers to people.”

Some saw a business opportunity in the crowd. Pradeep Gupta could be seen distributing pamphlets for women’s wear. “After a long time, I had seen so many people together. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity.” Sonu Tea Stall was buzzing with activity. “I got some business as most of them are here for a free lunch,” he chuckled.

With rallies of Chandra Shekhar Aazad and Akbaruddin Owaisi on the cards, the opportunities in adversity are only going to increase.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 2:11:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/for-up-cm-trademark-tough-talk-in-bulandshahr/article32923304.ece

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