For firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yogi Adityanath, Hindutva and development complement each other and the sitting MP from Gorakhpur is harping on this ideology of political Hinduism, which he says is a "symbol of our nationalism", as he eyes a fifth straight term.
Adityanath was the youngest legislator in the 12th Lok Sabha in 1998 at the age of 26. Successor to former Hindu Maha Sabha president Mahant Avaidyanath at the Gorakhnath Mutt, he is pitted against Rajmati Nishad (Samajwadi Party), Ram Bhual Nishad (Bahujan Samaj Party), Astbhuja Prasad Tripathi (Congress) and Radhe Mohan Misra (Aam Aadmi Party), among others.
"My agenda is Hindutva and development and they complement each other. Hindutva is guarantee of development and security. BJP's slogan also says 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' (participation and development for all)," said the 42-year-old leader.
Last time, he defeated his BSP rival Vinay Shankar Tiwari by a margin of over 2 lakh votes in the seat which has over 17 lakh electors.
"Politicians in the country are facing the problem of credibility as they don't communicate with their voters. In Gorakhpur, the situation is different as I have a direct connect with people. I have not deviated from my original agenda and am still working on the ideology and issues. I don't believe indifference between 'kathni' (words) and 'karni' (deeds)," Adityanath told PTI in an interview.
When asked about these issues, he said that Hindutva and development have always been his agenda.
Gorakhpur has been a BJP bastion since 1989 and the last time Congress won this seat was in 1984 when Sheila Kaul was elected from here.
On the role of Muslim voters in the elections, Adityanath said he is not seeking votes on communal lines.
"I am not asking for votes in the name of Hindu or Muslim. Only those who have faith in Indian nationalism should vote for me. I have visited several Muslim-dominated constituencies like Domariaganj and got good response," he said.
"We will provide security and development to all but we expect that no community should consider itself above law and the Constitution," he added.
Adityanath also rejected the allegations of promoting communal politics and blamed Congress for labelling Hindu leaders communal.
"There has been a trend in our country since 1947 to neglect our cultural ideology. Those who talk about Hindutva are called communal and humiliated, but Hinduism is not a religion or method of worship but it is a symbol of our nationalism," he claimed.
On the issue of performance of other parties in Uttar Pradesh, he claimed that the ruling Samajwadi Party will be wiped out in this election.
"BJP is benefited by the Modi wave and as far as Uttar Pradesh is concerned, people are agitated against the parties who have fooled them on the issue of so-called secularism," said Adityanath.
"SP is going to fare poorly this time... They will hardly win 6 or 7 seats. Mulayam Singh Yadav's dream of becoming prime minister will not be fulfilled as third front will not come into existence. BJP will get two-thirds majority on its own," claimed the influential leader of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
"Amethi will also spring a surprise this time. Rahul Gandhi would not have won Amethi all these years had we not made mistakes, but this time Smriti Irani is a strong candidate and the result will be surprising," he claimed.
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