In a scathing editorial, top British daily “The Guardian” has said that Yogi Adityanath, a person “contemptuous of democratic norms” and “a stridently anti-Muslim extremist” has been “chosen by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi to lead Uttar Pradesh.”
Introducing UP to British readers as “home of Hinduism’s holy Ganges river and the Moghul tomb of Taj Mahal”, the editorial says, the state has a “population of more than 200 million”, and though “not an independent nation”, by itself it “would be the world’s fourth biggest democracy – behind the rest of India, the United States, and Indonesia.”
“The Guardian” editorial comes amidst the rather tough stance comes amidst several scribes in India have sought to suggest that Adityanath’s selection suggests the “limits” of Modi’s power, and that Modi, along with BJP president Amit Shah, was "arm twisted" by RSS into allowing Adityanath to become chief minister.
The editorial particularly recalls, Adityanath “has been accused of attempted murder, criminal intimidation and rioting”, adding, “He says young Muslim men had launched a “love jihad” to entrap and convert Hindu women.”
It further points out, “Mother Teresa, he claimed, wanted to Christianise India. He backs a Donald Trump-style travel ban to stop ‘terrorists’ coming to India. On the campaign trail, Mr Adityanath warned: ‘If [Muslims] kill one Hindu man, then we will kill 100 Muslim men’.”
Insisting that “this cannot be dismissed as mere rhetoric”, “The Guardian” says, “The argument that once in power the BJP would become more reasonable does not wash. There’s little sign India’s constitutional protections would enable the BJP to continue in power while the dynamics of its wider movement are kept in check.”
Underlines the editorial, “Adityanath, now a powerful figure, is signalling that in India minorities exist merely on the goodwill of the majority. Step out of line and there will be blood. For some of India’s 140 million Muslims the threat is enough to see them debate withdrawing from public life to avoid further polarisation.”
“Modi’s BJP”, according to the editorial, “is full of religious zealots. He himself claimed plastic surgeons in ancient India grafted an elephant head on to a human thousands of years ago. The BJP’s skill is producing a circus to divert attention from how poorly the country is doing.”
Noting that “this has been successful”, the editorial says, “Voters overwhelmingly endorsed Mr Modi’s decision last November to cancel high-value banknotes – the so-called demonetisation of 86% of all currency – which they were told was a key anti-corruption reform.”
“In India there is increasing concern that minorities are being told they exist merely on the goodwill of the majority. For some of India’s 140 million Muslims it is enough to debate withdrawing from public life”, the editorial says.
Recalling Modi’s demonetization misadventure, “The Guardian” says, ““The public, and especially the poor, appear to put up with the chaos because they wrongly believe the rich suffered more. They did not because the wealthy long ago converted ill-gotten cash into houses, businesses and jewellery.”
Quoting experts, it says, the turmoil cost the economy “an estimated £14bn”, adding, “Money that might have been better spent in UP providing electricity to half of households that don’t have it, or tackling the highest infant mortality rate in India.”