Yogi does a Mask: Somebody, stop me

People can see Yogi Adityanath worshipping Lord Hanuman. This, one may contend, is a way to influence voters despite the EC ban.

File photo

Lucknow: Reminiscent of the line mouthed by the title character in Hollywood blockbuster Mask that says “Somebody, stop me!” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has found a way to circumvent the restriction imposed on his campaigning by the Election Commission (EC). He is reaching out to the people via Hanuman puja, rubbing the fact in that he has been debarred from campaigning due to his invocation of “Bajrangbali” in an election speech following BSP chief Mayawati’s separate appeal to Muslims to vote for the mahagathbandhan.

The second round of voting for the Lok Sabha election will be held on Thursday. Just before that, the EC crippled Yogi Adityanath, Mayawati, Maneka Gandhi and Azam Khan by disallowing them to campaign and for a few days.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court finds the EC helpless despite several examples of strict action it has set in this election season.

On Tuesday, Yogi worshipped at the temple of Bajrangbali at Hanuman Setu in Lucknow. Yogi stayed in the temple for about 20 minutes and read the Hanuman Chalisa.

During this time, Yogi did not talk to the media personnel present there. He emerged from the temple with a smile. BJP nominee and Home Minister Rajnath Singh is to be nominated from Lucknow today but the chief minister cannot participate in the nomination process due to the EC ban. Yogi will visit several other Hanuman temples instead for as long as the ban is on.

This star campaigner of the BJP has been banned for 72 hours, beginning 6 o’clock this morning. That is, till the day of voting for the second phase, Yogi will not be able to campaign for the BJP. The EC action followed a complaint against the chief minister of violation of the model code of conduct.

According to the EC order, in these 72 hours, Yogi Adityanath cannot participate in any public meeting, padyatra or roadshow. Not only that, he will not even be able to appear in interviews in print or electronic media. But Yogi has found a way out, to which one doubts the EC has an answer.

The EC has imposed 48-hour restrictions on BSP chief Mayawati and Union minister and BJP candidate from Sultanpur Maneka Gandhi’s campaign. Samajwadi Party candidate Azam Khan faces a 72-hour ban. All these politicians have been accused of violating the model code of conduct with their rhetoric.

In the wake of polling on 18 April for the second phase, the campaign will stop at 5 o’clock this evening. The ban on these leaders could have proven a big setback but not for Yogi whom the people can see worshipping Lord Hanuman. This, one may contend, is a way to influence voters.

In the second phase, 97 seats will be subjected to vote. This includes eight seats of Uttar Pradesh Nagina (reserved), Amroha, Bulandshahr (reserved), Aligarh, Hathras (reserved), Mathura, Agra (reserved) and Fatehpur Sikri.

For all reports related to the Lok Sabha election 2019, please visit this page.