On tuesday, as Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath turned 46, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had a novel gift for him. The UP BJP general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal handed over the gift, a miniature fibre statue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to Adityanath.
Yogi, who turned a monk when he was formally accepted into the Nath sect in 1993, neither celebrates birthdays nor does he accept costly gifts even though the gesture was accepted.
Thereafter, Yogi’s OSD Abhishek Kaushik of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), who was the BJP’s war room in-charge in the 2017 UP polls, presented Adityanath with a similar miniature statue of the chief minister. Both the statues, prepared by a party worker from Chitrakoot, are likely to be placed in all the BJP offices across the state.
A BJP leader familiar with the matter said, “Yes, there is this plan to have statues of Modiji and Yogiji in all party offices of the state which obviously means all district headquarters too.”
In 2017, BJP chief Amit Shah had rolled out a project to have party offices in each of the 75 districts of the state by the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party has reportedly purchased offices in 62 of the 75 districts. Modi and Yogi statues will be placed in all of these offices, a party leader confirmed.
Vitally, the decision to have a Yogi statues along with that of PM Modi indicates that despite setbacks in by-polls in UP, the party’s top leadership was comfortable with Yogi at the helm, a BJP leader admitted.
On Monday, one of Yogi’s ministers Om Prakash Rajbhar of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, a BJP ally made headline that the party should have made deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, an OBC, the UP chief minister.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UP governor Ram Naik, union home minister Rajnath Singh along with several other union ministers, chief ministers of various BJP-ruled states as well as several ministers and leaders from UP either greeted Yogi on phone or met him for that personal touch. Shah also tweeted his greetings to Adityanath, describing him as a ‘popular’ chief minister.
The clamour was huge where after Bansal, UP BJP general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak, former union minister of state Swami Chinmayanand of the Vishva Hindu Parishad and a few other leaders and ministers met him, the chief minister’s office decided to invite all the BJP leaders and ministers together for a small tea party at the CM’s official 5 Kalidas Marg residence after the Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
A Yogi aide said, “There were so many of them who wanted to wish him. So it was decided to invite all of them at 8pm after the cabinet meeting.”
Whereas in Gorakhpur, some enthusiastic BJP workers prepared a saffron cake and distributed laddoos.
On the other side the Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV), an outfit floated by Yogi before he became the chief minister, celebrated his birthday by launching a special ‘take selfie with plants’ campaign to spread awareness about preserving the environment on the day. Local businessmen and traders in Gorakhpur, where Yogi is the head priest of the influential Gorakhnath Mutt, celebrated his birthday by cutting a saffron cake and making a 46 kilogram laddoo.
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