Yogi Adityanath, your friendly neighbourhood mahant

By Anirudh Singla

Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, recently assumed his other role as head priest of the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur, while “coordinating” his duties as CM accordingly. Not forgetting his roots, Yogi Aditya once again took on the responsibilities as the head priest of the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur, conducting pooja during Navratri. Ushering in telephonic governance in Uttar Pradesh, he was seen performing “special pujas” at the temple from 4 am to 7 am and 4 pm to 7 pm, over the last five days of the Navratri.

Governance continues as a side project

He had even performed a “Kanya Puja” by washing the feet of nine girls, applying “tika” on their forehead and offering them garlands and the “chunri” on Friday. Later that day, he served food to 100 children in lieu to the feast organized in the temple. A senior government official was quoted saying that the CM was not only in touch with his Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar but also in touch with Principal Secretary (Home ) Arvind Kumar, DGP Sulkhan Singh and other officers of his secretariat along with members of other departments. Another officer said, “I got three calls from the CM this morning. The governance is as smooth as it was during his stay in Lucknow.” Ajay Kumar Singh, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) at the Chief Minister’s Office in Lucknow, who accompanied Yogi Adityanath to Gorakhpur is posted inside the temple and functions from the premises. Acceptance of public applications and liaising with government officials across Uttar Pradesh along with formal means of communication is still established.

Yogi justifies his absence

A temple staffer, who was closely following the mahant’s routine was quoted saying, “After the morning puja, he meets local administration officials and monitors security arrangements for Dussehra and Moharram. Then, he speaks to the Chief Secretary, DGP, principal secretaries of important departments and officials in the Chief Minister’s secretariat in Lucknow over the phone, as and when required.” After wrapping the Navratri duties, the CM led a “Shobha Yatra”, a decades-old tradition, in which a religious procession will pass through the city and end at the Mansarovar Ramleela ground in Gorakhpur. When the opposition questioned this move, officers defended Yogi Adityanath by saying that in the past happenstance also, chief ministers have stayed out of Lucknow for considerable periods of time. Citing Akhilesh Yadav’s foreign trips that lasted over a week, it was cited that modern means of communication did not let official work get hampered at any cost.

The opposition parties have raised concerns pertaining to this double-duty delegation and are targeting Adityanath for taking more interest in his responsibilities as Chief priest of the Gorakhnath temple rather than the office of the Chief Minister of the State. Further comments from the CM pertaining to this, are being awaited for now. 

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