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He stole a march over what everyone thought was the final Hindutva duo: Modi and Amit Shah. Yogi Adityanath trounced their man as UP CM, trampled upon Modi’s choice of babus for Uttar Pradesh and is marching forward with an agenda that not even his cabinet ministers are clear about. Excepting that he means austere business. A profile

SRAWAN SHUKLA

SRAWAN SHUKLA

The author is a Lucknow-based independent journalist with over 25 years experience in media - print, television and digital. He started his career with the Pioneer, working later with The Times of India, Newstime, Hyderabad and Tehelka. He also worked with Zee News and ETV (UP). He was Editor (U.P.) of bhaskar.com and later founded Newstrack.com.

March 19, 2017. Lucknow…The atmosphere is surcharged at the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh state headquarters. A meeting of the party’s newly elected MLAs is supposed to take place at 4 pm that day to elect a new chief minister.

Hectic parleys are on in Lucknow and in New Delhi. Already for the past eight days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handpicked PMO official Nripendra Mishra had been camping in the Taj Hotel in the state capital, trying to push the envelope for the chosen darling of both Modi and his stub, party chief Amit Shah. BJP heavyweight Nitin Gadkari had also been deployed to ensure a smooth takeover by their blessed Manoj Sinha.

Media too had already announced that BJP is going to anoint Sinha as such. He had all the credentials required for the job. He was close to the RSS as well to both Modi and Shah. A Bhumihar by caste, he is an engineer from the haloed Indian Institute of Technology under the aegis of the Benaras Hindu University. His poker face rarely reveals, or suppresses, a smile slipping from his pan-filled mouth. He has enough administrative experience – having been Minister of State for Railways for the past three years, with additional charge of Information Technology and Communication for the past one year.

But little did the former engineer know that in the political arena there was a much sharper engineer at work to snuff out his – what seemed till then – sure-shot attempt as the UP CM.

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