'He will use these five years to project himself as the next PM candidate within the Hindutva fold.'
"The composition and the future of the present government will be largely determined by the power equation between Narendra Modi-Amit Shah on the one hand and Yogi Adityanath on the other, with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh playing the role of mediator between the two not-so-cordial partners in the Hindutva project," says Dr Prashant Trivedi of the Giri Institute of Social Development, a Lucknow-based research institute.
In an interview with Rediff.com's Archana Masih, Dr Trivedi discussed Yogi Adityanath's strengthening grip on the political power structure.
Nearly 12 days after an impressive win, what do you think are the reasons for the delay in government formation in UP?
You won't hear much about what is happening inside the BJP. But one gets an impression that the composition and the future of the present government will be largely determined by the power equation between Narendra Modi-Amit Shah on the one hand and Yogi Adityanath, the incumbent chief minister on the other, with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh playing the role of mediator between the two not-so-cordial partners in the Hindutva project.
During the election, there was an impression that the previous BJP dispensation under CM Yogi Adityanath did not perform very well on the governance front, yet the party managed a better than expected result due to the contribution of the BJP's central leadership.
Hence, the central leadership would also have a say in the formation of the next UP government, in view of the 2024 election. But to what extent they would succeed will depend upon the equation between the two centres of power within the BJP.
We have to wait and watch. The Punjab government has already taken oath; only BJP governments are still in discussion mode.
The BJP central leadership has appointed a heavyweight like Amit Shah as observer for the formation of the government in UP which means that they mean business and want to have an upper hand in the process of allocation of portfolios and ministers etc.
Only after the government is formed will we know how much influence was wielded by the central leadership and how much by Yogi Adityanath.
Right now, it's a power tussle within the BJP and that is why it is taking time.
What do you think will be the complexion of the new government? How different will it be from the last UP government?
It is yet to be seen. Nobody knows, not even BJP insiders.
The composition of the government will not just reflect the usual aspects like representation of different castes and communities that have been voting for the BJP, but also other castes and communities that the party would like to target in the near future.
I think more than that, the central leadership of the BJP will also like to ensure that the state government performs better than the previous dispensation because the central leadership is preparing for 2024 elections.
The last government was a failure where every decision was centralised in the chief minister's office. The central leadership would like the new government to be better than the last one and that can be achieved only through collective functioning of the cabinet and government.
The chief minister might perceive this as an encroachment on his powers and hence all these issues must be under discussion in the BJP at different levels.
Had it been a party like the Congress all these discussions would have been leaked in the public domain, but because the BJP is a tightly-knit and tightly-lipped party, no news is coming out from within.
The Samajwadi Party has faced a second successive defeat. What kind of Opposition will it be like in its second avatar?
The SP gave a very spirited fight to the BJP in this election. But beyond that, they do not have a consistent agenda against the government. They will pose sporadic resistance and raise some issues against the government within and outside the House, but they need an authentic programme as the main Opposition party which they need to bring out to the people.
Unless they do that, they will not be able to play the role of a consistent Opposition party, either in the House or outside.
The BSP stands at a precarious juncture in UP. How can it arrest its decline and what is the future of Dalit politics in UP?
A lot of people have this feeling that the BSP didn't contest this election aggressively. It was almost as if the BSP was giving a walkover to other parties.
It still managed to get more than 12% of votes. There are instances of some BSP core votes having shifted to other parties. The BSP will have to reinvents itself into a party encapsulating the Bahujan movement, in fact all Dalits parties have a lot more challenges to face in the near future.
If the BSP has to survive, it will have to work both at the leadership level as well as the party programme level.
The BSP is centered around one leader. Until they cultivate a sense of collective leadership and come out with an alternative programme for social transformation, they will not be able to hold on to their own voters. BSP needs an overhaul sooner than later.
How is Yogi Version 2 as chief minister going to be different from Yogi v1?
Amit Shah also acknowledged that Yogi harbours ambition to be the prime minister in the not-so-distant future. Hence, obviously, he will use his five year term in UP to further build his image as prime ministerial material.
He surely knows that he has to project himself as a hardcore Hindutva leader. He will continue to function in the same way. He will indulge in the politics of minority bashing to cultivate and further enhance his image nationally.
He will continue the heavy-handed treatment of political dissidents, both within the party and outside. He will cultivate the image of a no-nonsense administrator.
He will continue to function the way he has been functioning in the last five years. His primarily concern will be the prospects of his political career. He will use these five years to project himself as the next PM candidate within the Hindutva fold.
Is he is likely to become more hardline?
He has already been more than enough hardline. He has never hidden it and that is his USP. This is how he has risen to be a chief minister, and this is what he will use to project himself as candidate for prime minister of India.
Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com