Home World News Uttar Pradesh poll could snub Modi’s nationalism

Uttar Pradesh poll could snub Modi’s nationalism

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India holds its breath. Thursday, February 10, Uttar Pradesh kicks off the renewal of its legislative assembly. A regional election scheduled to last a month and which promises to be one of the appointments “the most important in contemporary political history”ensures theHindustan Timesjust that.

Located in the north of the country, Uttar Pradesh is, it is true, the most populous federated state in the Indian subcontinent, with 240 million inhabitants, more than three times the size of France. It stretches across the famous plain of the Ganges, which is the cradle of Hinduism, with the presence of the holy cities of Allahabad (Prayagraj), Benares and Ayodhya. It is also the breeding ground for Hindi, the country’s official language, and what happens there often determines the course of political events on a national scale.

Everyone obviously has their sights set on the general elections of 2024, during which the nationalist Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, will run for a third term. “ A lot of what happens in the next two years is going to be determined by this poll in Uttar Pradesh” summarizes theHindustan Times. Either the Prime Minister’s movement, the Indian People’s Party (BJP) in power in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, comes out on top at the polls on March 10, and a boulevard will open up for Narendra Modi. Either he loses, like a year ago in West Bengal, and the left can then nurture the hope of an alternation in two years.

Massacre of Muslims

This crystallization of issues stems from a simple reason: Uttar Pradesh is the laboratory of Hindu extremism. When the BJP won the last local elections in 2017, Narendra Modi appointed as head of the regional executive a fanatical monk, identifiable by his shaved head and his saffron-colored outfits, Yogi Adityanath. Now 49, the latter has continued to stir up community tensions. He let the most enlightened Hindus lynch, when it wasn’t murder, Muslims, who represent 20% of the population of Uttar Pradesh, in the name of protecting the sacred cow.

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In Modi’s India, Muslims are regularly criticized for eating beef. But they are above all asked to bow their backs in the name ofhindutva“Hinduism”, an ideology dating back to the 1920s, which refutes the secularism enshrined in the 1950 Constitution and which postulates that to be a “good” Indian, one must necessarily be of the Hindu faith.

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Yogi Adityanath has become one of the tutelary figures, in the same way as Narendra Modi and his terrible Minister of the Interior, Amit Shah, of this vision which goes against the ideas of tolerance defended in their time by Mahatma Gandhi, apostle of non-violence, and by the socialist Nehru, the first leader of independent India. The Uttar Pradesh monk is often cited as a possible future prime minister on the day when Narendra Modi, 22 years his senior, retires.

For the past five years, Yogi Adityanath has ruled with an obsession for law, order and security. He let the police commit abuses of all kinds, crush political opponents, silence overly curious journalists. He also hid the horrors of the Covid-19 pandemic which, in the spring of 2020, forced the destitute to dispose of their dead in a hurry, cremating them on makeshift pyres, burying them by the thousands on the banks of the Ganges, and sometimes by throwing them directly into the sacred river. The images of this drama went around the world.

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Socialists on the lookout

Opposite, the main opposition formation, the Samajwadi Party, of socialist inspiration, hopes to make a comeback after being in charge of Uttar Pradesh between 2012 and 2017. Its leader, Akhilesh Yadav, traditionally supported by the community Muslim, is campaigning on the theme of development, an area in which he says the BJP has failed down the line. He is also betting on the snub suffered by the Modi government in November 2021 against the peasant movement.

For more than a year, farmers camped out on Delhi’s access highways to demand the withdrawal of a reform that aimed to liberalize the domestic market for staple foods, rice, wheat, lentils, But. The text gave pride of place to large private groups in the agri-food sector dominated by two businessmen close to power, the billionaires Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani. It ended up being repealed. The electoral risk was too great. In India, agriculture supports 70% of the population. Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for 20% of national agricultural production.

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