LUCKNOW The Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) is back in action mode after five years following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) decision to field chief minister Yogi Adityanath from his home turf, Gorakhpur, for the UP Assembly elections.
Launched by Adityanath in 2002, the HYV had played an important role in his election campaign in 2004, 2009 and the 2014 Lok Sabha election as well, propagating the Hindutva agenda in the rural areas of the eastern UP.
After Yogi Adityanath became chief minister in March 2017, the units of the HYV in various districts of Gorakhpur region were disbanded on the request of the BJP leadership. The outfit’s office-bearers and members, who rose in rebellion against the decision, were expelled from the organization. These included the then state president Sunil Singh.
The HYV withdrew from political activities to focus on social issues, including ration distribution, awareness campaign on Covid-19 and Japanese Encephalitis, assisting migrant workers, tree plantation, assisting local authorities in the implementation of development and welfare schemes.
The announcement to field Yogi Adityanath from the Gorakhpur urban seat has recharged the members of the HYV. Though polling on this seat will be held in the sixth phase of UP polls on March 3, the HYV has launched intensive campaign to ensure Adityanath’s victory with a record margin.
In view of Covid guidelines implemented by the Election Commission of India (ECI), the HYV has decided to organize door-to-door meetings, digital meetings, strengthen its organization at the booth level across the assembly segment, said PK Mall, general secretary, HYV.
HYV office bearers will hold a meeting with the chief minister over the election strategy and campaign when he arrives in Gorakhpur, said Mall.
“Political activities of the HYV were dormant for around five years, but the organization is reactivated with the announcement of Yogi Adityanath’s candidature from the city seat. The outfit will hold meetings in all the wards and also campaign for BJP candidates in other Assembly segments on the direction of the CM,” said Ram Laxman, a senior HYV leader and former students’ union leader of DDU Gorakhpur University.
In the 2017 Assembly election, HYV leader Raghvendra Pratap Singh had contested from Domariyaganj seat in Siddharthnagar. In a close contest, he defeated BSP candidate Saiyada Khatoon by a margin of 171 votes. In the 2022 Assembly poll too, several HYV leaders are aspiring for BJP ticket.
Adityanath had raised the HYV in 2002, after his relationship with the BJP soured due to differences over ticket distribution in the Assembly election. He challenged the BJP leadership by fielding Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal on Hindu Mahasabha ticket against BJP candidate Shiv Pratap Shukla. Agarwal defeated Shukla, establishing Adityanath as an unchallenged leader in eastern UP, said, Satyadeo Singh a teacher in government college, Gorakhpur.
Soon, HYV volunteers were also entrusted with the task of propagating the Hindutva agenda promoted by the Gorakhnath mutt. From 300 members in 2002, the strength of the HYV increased to 15 lakh in 2017. In Gorakhpur division alone, 5 lakh youths joined the outfit as it opened offices in villages.
The HYV also launched awareness drive over outbreak of encephalitis, sanitation and development schemes, helping Adityanath get the ‘vikas- purush” (development man) tag, he said.
However, the activities of the HYV did not go down well with the local BJP leaders who considered the outfit a “private militia of Adityanath to serve his political interests.” They urged the party leadership to curtail the activities of the HYV after Adityanath became CM, Singh added.