Business Standard

Gujarat theatre to witness political slugfest between Yogi, Akhilesh Yadav

BJP is seeking to consolidate its vote bank with the help of Yogi's strong Hindutva image

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi are not the only trailblazers in the run-up to the crucial The state is also set witness a political slugfest between Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and his immediate predecessor

While Yogi campaigned in Gujarat on October 12 and 13 by partaking in the now-concluded ‘Gaurav Yatra’, the Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) has also announced its intention to contest the forthcoming Gujarat poll on a few seats.

Yogi and Yadav hold the distinction of being the youngest leaders to serve as chief ministers of the country’s most populous state.

In the poll-bound states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, is seeking to consolidate its bank with the help of Yogi’s strong Hindutva image, unsparing attitude towards corruption, oratory skills, and mystique persona.

According to sources, the party units in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have solicited the services of Yogi to in their respective states. The UP CM would, therefore, be seen in action in Gujarat trail and address almost two dozen public and election meetings in the Western state, which borders Pakistan.

Earlier, Yogi had also taken part in BJP’s public engagements in the Left stronghold of Kerala, where the saffron outfit is upping the ante to emerge as a force to reckon with. Yogi had not only mounted a scathing attack on the Kerala government, but his jibes had also prompted the Kerala dispensation to counter-attack him over governance in UP.

Since Gujarat poll is due by year-end, is confident that Yogi would help consolidate voters as was the case during 2017 UP polls, when he had participated in four ‘Parivartan Yatras’ in the state and fetched good electoral results for the party, which came to power in the state after almost 15 years.

At the same time, Yogi commands good following and influence in Gujarat among various Ashrams and particularly the Nath sect, which is currently helmed by him as the presiding seer of Gorakhpur-based Gorakshnath Peeth.

is locked in a tough battle with Congress for the seat of power in Gujarat, where the later has been out of power for about two decades now. Since it is the home state of Modi, is not taking anything to chance especially with 2019 Lok Sabha polls less than 18 months away.

Meanwhile, the partaking of Yogi in Gujarat pre-poll and his most sought-after status in other poll-bound provinces amply indicate Yogi’s growing stature in national politics and in the eyes of mandarins and strategists. His votaries see him as the natural heir to Modi at the Centre.

First Published: Tue, October 24 2017. 16:22 IST