UTTAR Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has batted for the nationwide adoption of Hindi as ‘Rajbhasha’ in an exclusive interview with News18 Network – his first comprehensive interaction with media since he assumed power – where he discussed topics ranging from cow protection to population growth to the Unnao rape case.
“Hindi is our rajbhasha (official language) and like every important symbol that should be respected in a country, it is our responsibility to respect our Rajbhasha,” he told Rahul Joshi, MD &Group Editor-in-Chief, News18 Network, in a wide-ranging conversation held at the GorakhnathmathMandir in Gorakhpur to mark the first half of the BJP Government in Lucknow.
The Hindi ball was set in motion a few days ago by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on his Hindi Diwas speech. His exhortation for nationwide adoption of Hindi was met with heavy resistance from prominent personalities from south Indian states. Adityanath, however, felt that nationwide adoption of Hindi would only “enhance the beauty of the country”.
“In the southern states, I think it will be a good move if we have the local language and Hindi in addition to English,” he said, paraphrasing Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that Hindi was the ‘Bindi’ of the nation.
The UP CM defended his law and order track record saying no riot or lynching took place during the two-and-a-half years of his government because “we ended illegal cow slaughter.” He also said that the Unnao incident where the girl who accused a BJP MLA of rape was hurt seriously in a road accident had nothing to do with the law and order situation in the state.
“The Unnao case has no connection with the state of law and order in UP. These are issues associated with mindsets, which has to be set right. UP’s law and order situation is the best today. It is also important that when criminals fire at them our policemen are not sitting idle, we reply in the same coin,” he said.
Adityanath, whose speeches had come under scanner during the heated campaign for Lok Sabha polls early this year, was unrepentant about his controversial comments. He said the ‘Ali-Bajrangbali’ comment was only a reaction to BSP chief Mayawati appealing Muslims to vote for the SP-BSP combine that fought BJP in the state.
“Every action will have its reaction. Everyone has their votebank. I didn’t take the name of any caste or religion. Mayawati took to the stage and sought votes in the name of religion. My statement was a natural reaction to that,” he told News18.
He emphasized his government didn’t discriminate over caste or religion. “If we build 25 lakh houses for the poor, all that doesn’t go only to Hindus. About 30-35% Muslims also get houses from the scheme. And they are not getting the benefit because they are Muslims, they are getting it because they are poor,” he said.
On the Ayodhya hearings happening in Supreme Court, Adityanath said his government will accept the court’s verdict but it would have been better if Muslims had resolved the centuries-old issue through dialogue.
“It would have been good that when the SC gave time for mediation if the Muslim community had taken the initiative to end this. But it did not happen. It wouldn’t have happened as people can only move towards a solution when they are thinking positively, but when they are stubborn only the court can take a decision,” he said.