The Narendra Modi-Amit Shah one-two punch, in which Mohammad Ali specialized, has so pulverized the pandits that they see no way-out. There is an English aphorism: “If you want to win France, then start with Scotland.” In other words, if the duet in New Delhi is formidable, Yogi in Lucknow offers a more vulnerable opening – just by his spate of excesses of which Hathras is the latest.
The manner in which the Yogi administration is stumbling along leaves one with the impression that he is badly advised. It is possible that if advice is given to him, there is in him a natural resistance to it.
Does this style of functioning endear him to power centres in Nagpur and UP? The history of his ascent to the Lucknow gaddi should offer some guide. Winning 324 of the 403 assembly seats in March 2017, should have led to an easy transfer of power. But it was far from easy. The RSS-BJP High Command had set its heart on Manoj Sinha as Chief Minister. But the Yogi threw a ginger fit. His powerful Hindu Vahini would, like Samson, would bring down the edifice if Yogi’s claims were overlooked. This manner of coming to power would have miffed many who would, presumably, be waiting for him to slip.
The field in UP has opened up for two possible formations: The Congress and, believe it or not, the Aam Aadmi Party which is already in preliminary conversation with those elements in SP who have grown tired of Akhilesh’s indifference.
Rahul Gandhi, it must be admitted, has come into his own in recent weeks. I have been sceptical of his ability to “connect” with his interlocutors, his ability to think on his feet, his attention span and so on. But he appears to have come out of his shell somewhat because he is no longer mincing his words.