New BJP UP Poll In-Charge Once Called Modi ‘Scorpion on Shivling’

Gordhan Zadafia has been appointed as poll in-charge in UP years after he was a bitter critic of Narendra Modi.

Updated
India
2 min read
Former Gujarat Minister of Home, Gordhan Zadafia.
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The electoral defeat in the Hindi heartland has prompted Amit Shah to shuffle the campaign leadership in 17 states, keeping the do or die 2019 General Elections in mind. Incidentally, in Uttar Pradesh, Shah has picked Gordhan Zadafia – a former colleague and the former Minister of State for Home in Gujarat during the 2002 riots.

What makes Zadafia’s appointment more interesting is the fact that he was a vocal critic of Narendra Modi and rebelled against the party to start his own.

Zadafia has been appointed as the poll in-charge in Uttar Pradesh and he will be assisted by Dushyant Gautam and Narottam Mishra.

Who is Gordhan Zadafia?

Zadafia was also a close associate of former VHP leader Pravin Togadia and was blamed for letting the 2002 riots get out of control. In 2004 Zadafia was replaced by Amit Shah as MoS for Home. He later became a vocal critic of Modi’s ‘autocratic’ methods of governance and in 2007 he started the Mahagujarat Janata Party.

His party later merged with former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel’s Gujarat Parivartan Party.

His outing with the GPP was disastrous in 2012, winning only 2 seats in the Assembly elections. Zadafia was running out of options due to Keshubhai Patel’s failing health coupled with abysmal poll performance.

Zadafia’s Scorpion Reference

On 27 October, Shashi Tharoor, during the launch of his book The Paradoxical Prime Minister in Bengaluru, invoked a scathing comment about Narendra Modi’s relationship with the Sangh, while attributing it to an unnamed RSS leader: “It is like a scorpion sitting on a Shivling. Neither can the Sangh parivar touch it, nor can they throw anything to damage it.”

This statement drew the ire of the BJP who demanded that Rahul Gandhi expel Tharoor from the Congress.

Tharoor tweeted a video featuring an old interview on NewsX channel in 2010, where Zadafia made the exact comment on Modi’s relations with the Sangh.

Zadafia’s Ghar Vapasi

In February 2014, before Modi ran for the Prime Minister’s Office, Zadafia buried the hatchet and returned to the BJP. His return came as a huge relief for Modi who didn’t want any distractions during his massively successful election campaign.

As a Patel leader, Zadafia is also believed to be instrumental in propping up Hardik Patel, who has emerged as a key irritant for the ruling BJP in Gujarat. The BJP took its time to rehabilitate Zadafia and in July 2015 he was appointed as the National General Secretary of BJP Kisan Morcha.

Now that the Congress has made inroads in the Hindi heartland, Zadafia has been given the responsibility for Uttar Pradesh, a politically crucial state, where the BJP is likely to face a tough challenge from a prospective alliance of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

The Quint tried to reach Zadafia for a comment but he didn’t respond.

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