His saffron robes underline his almost aggressive brand of Hindutva – the kind that non-believers should be apprehensive of.
His spin doctors revel in projecting his pro-Hindu (read anti-Muslim) stance but facts tell a different story.
In the four and half years of his tenure as UP Chief Minister, it is the Muslims who have benefitted the most and there are facts to prove it.
Yogi Adityanath’s ‘One District One Product’ flagship scheme has benefitted Muslims the most.
The ODOP scheme has bene passionately promoted by the UP government in the past four years and this has led to revival of indigenous industries, many of which were dying a natural death.
Interestingly, a large number of industries in the ODOP scheme are those that have been nurtured by Muslims.
Whether it is the revival of the lock industry in Aligarh, brassware in Moradabad, bells and ‘ghunghroos’ in Etah, leather products in Agra, shoes in Hamirpur, carpets in Bhadohi, chikan and zardozi in Lucknow and glassware in Firozabad, it is Muslims working in these industries that have directly benefitted with the revival of locally made products.
“For the first time, we found a government promoting locally made products which, in turn, gave us a platform to exhibit our skills and expand out trade,” said Mohd Haroon, a bell maker from Etah.
Weavers from Azamgarh, Mau and Varanasi also found the ODOP scheme to be a boon for them.
“The initiative of the officials helped us to go digital and despite the pandemic lockdowns, we managed to sell our products online. We had local officials helping us in making digital transactions and keep business afloat in the pandemic,” said Yusra Amin, who owns a boutique of silk garments in Varanasi.
While the ODOP schemes economically strengthened the Muslim community, the Yogi government also enriched and improvised the educational institutions for Muslims.
Madrasa Board member Zirgamuddin, said, “The changes that have taken place in Madrasa education in the past four years are unprecedented. The Yogi Adityanath government regularized the educational session which allowed our students to go to colleges and universities for higher education.
He further said that the Yogi Adityanath government had introduced NCERT syllabus to bring madrasa education at par with other schools.
Danish Azad, member of the UP Bhasha Samiti, said that there are 17,000 private and 558 aided madrasas in the state and their upgradation and improvisation had changed the future of the students.
The Yogi Adityanath government has earmarked Rs 479 crore for madrasa modernization scheme, Rs 829 crore for minority male and female students scholarship and Rs 588 crore for multi-sectoral districts plan to make available basic infrastructural facilities in the districts with a minority-dominated population.
The Yogi Adityanath government has been often criticized for targeting Muslims on issues like triple talaq, and ‘love jihad’.
Shaista Amber, president of the All India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board, said, “The verdict against triple talaq has given a new lease of life to Muslim women and the government has supported Muslim women in their fight against such evil practices. Today, women are coming out to lodge complaints against triple talaq and the men are getting punished.”
‘Love jihad’ has been a contentious issue and one has to admit that there have been aberrations in implementation of the same but that has mainly been due to inefficiency of the police at the local level.
Yogi Adityanath’s biggest achievement that has proved beneficial for the minorities, majorly Muslims, is that Uttar Pradesh has not faced any major communal riot in the state in the BJP regime.
“We were very apprehensive when the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya dispute was to be announced in November 2019. Families in several districts stocked up essential items because they feared communal trouble. The Yogi government deserves accolades for ensuring complete peace after the verdict was delivered and even Hindus were not allowed to celebrate.
We were asked to implement law and order with a firm hand. This had a calming effect on all and the result is that the temple and mosque constructions are going on peacefully,” said a police official who did not wish to be named.