Adityanath as UP CM: Democracy Corroded, Writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta

In a column for The Indian Express, political commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes that the appointment of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh is unnerving – and a threat to democracy.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) perceiving Adityanath as the "popular choice” for the CM’s post points to a “contest between fundamentalism and democratic misanthropy, both destructive of the idea of democracy”, Mehta writes, adding that the party now believes it can get away with anything,

By making this overtly right-wing figure the chief minister despite his controversial statements against the state’s minority community, the BJP only wants to turn the already achieved political marginalisation of the community into a “cultural, social and symbolic subordination”.

It signals that the BJP will now be dominated by extremes, its politics shaped largely by resentment rather than hope, collective narcissism rather than an acknowledgement of plurality, hate rather than reconciliation, and violence rather than decency. Hubris has set in. The party believes it can get away with anything. It now intends to.

In the article, Mehta questions why the name of the UP CM was declared a week after the election results if Adityanath indeed was the popular choice for the post. He writes that although the BJP is putting on a pretence of following democratic principles, the selection of the CM shows otherwise.

If a figure who vowed to turn UP into a Hindu rashtra quite openly is actually the popular choice, there are enough reasons to believe that democracy is under threat from fundamentalism, Mehta comments.

India’s foes, Mehta writes, “will be exulting that at a moment in world history, when all India had to do was to have a sensible policy, we have chosen to empower the worst of ourselves”.