Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath’s attempt to undermine Kerala, Bengal and Kashmir was not only against the idea of India but also contrary to the letter and spirit of our Constitution. While Yogi is entitled to make political comments in order to further his party’s agenda, he should be prudently cautious in the future not to hurt the sentiments of people of other states for electing governments that do not share the ideology of the Sangh Parivar. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in the country and has a long way to go so far as development goes. On the other hand, a state like Kerala has the highest literacy rate and in virtually all parameters which are used to judge the various states by the Niti Aayog, it is far ahead of Uttar Pradesh. Bengal and Kashmir likewise are also above UP, which unfortunately has a lot of catching up to do in various categories.
However, since India is a Union of States, each province has its own peculiarities and characteristics and they have to be respected and accepted by all citizens. U.P. is witnessing a very tough election and it is not surprising that irresponsible statements from responsible people holding coveted positions do not seem to be ending. Elaborating on what Yogi meant when he hit out at Kerala, Bengal and Kashmir, a senior BJP functionary stated that the Chief Minister was referring to the policy of appeasement of minorities that exists in these places. It is therefore very evident that the BJP is furthering its chances by pushing a divisive agenda that could help the majority community to unite and vote one way. When Yogi had some weeks ago stated that the polls in his state were a contest between 80 percent and 20 percent, it was clear what he was trying to allude to. Unfortunately for him, the ground reports suggest that unemployment, rising prices, inflation, and public health were as much of major issues as is BJP’s obsession with the Hindutva agenda, which alone may not be sufficient to see the party occupy the winning position this time. The Hindutva theme has to be supplemented by other matters as well and while it is true that law and order was certainly a big achievement of the present government, there is much scope for improvement in this area as well. It is nobody’s case that there should be appeasement of minorities yet it is also not a case where persecution of minorities can be justified in the democracy, we live in. Many years ago, when militancy was at its peak in Punjab and Simranjit Singh Mann, won his maiden election from Tarn Taran in 1989, he would equate his state with California and Texas in the United States. He argued that the people of Punjab had a lot more in common with those two places and less with other parts of India. His flawed thesis was that Punjab had been colonized by Uttar Pradesh which at that time used to send 85 MPs to Parliament while the border state had only 13.
In the event of Presidents’ rule, it were not the MPs of Punjab who would help the Centre to determine what was good for the welfare of the State but those from Uttar Pradesh. These kinds of statements or claims do not contribute towards the development of any country where all the citizens belonging to different states are equal stakeholders. People of Uttar Pradesh are amongst the most well-informed citizens and know whom to elect for whichever relevant reasons. If they have made up their mind to back the BJP, they would do so without any hesitation. However, if they have decided to reject the incumbent government, the verdict would have to be respected and accepted by one and all. This, is the marvel of democracy.