Yogi Adityanath's Foot Soldiers: Hindu Yuva Vahini Still Dreams Of 'Hindu Rashtra'

The foot-soldiers of Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV), an organisation founded by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, had intensified efforts to ensure that 'Maharaj ji' gets the second term as chief minister. 

HYV members in UP

Ahead of the final phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections last month, senior leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, were stationed in Varanasi. But far from the mega roadshows and rallies, the foot-soldiers of Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV), an organisation founded by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, had intensified efforts to ensure that 'Maharaj ji' gets the second term as chief minister. 

The HYV held a two-day congregation at Guru Gorakhnath temple at Maidagin, on the eve of Maha Shivratri. The event was marked by a community kitchen and the political message that the outfit, which claims to be a ‘fiercely cultural and social organization,’ sent out was too loud to be ignored. 

Ambrish Singh Bhola, 33, who heads the Varanasi unit of HYV, and his young teammates made sure that no one leaves the temple without ‘Prasad’ and a special edition of the Panchjanya, an RSS-affiliated weekly that carried 29 articles, eulogizing Yogi Adityanath’s first term as the Chief Minister.  With a portrait of Adityanath, the cover boasted of UP’s complete transformation despite the pandemic and listed several achievements of the state in the past five years due to ‘transparent governance’. 

Bhola is unmarried and doesn’t seem to have any marriage plans. Dressed in a saffron kurta and white pyjamas, he described Adityanath “a candid person who has an untainted character.” 

A graduate from Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith and a resident of Saifpur’s Chandoli village, Bhola joined the HYV after he listened to a fiery speech delivered by Adityanath following an attack on him at Azamgarh in 2008. 

“We hold public meetings at the ward level to make people aware about our work and ideology,” Bhola told Outlook. 

HYV member Ambrish Singh Bhola | Credit: Ashutosh Sharma/Outlook

“We are working for Hindu Rashtra. No one can accomplish this cause except for the BJP. Had there been others talking about Hindutva or Hindu civilization, we would have supported them,” he said, lauding the UP government’s decision to change the names of Allahabad and Faizabad districts.   

Several HYV activists from the adjoining states were present on the temple premises. Bhola denied the popular perception that the HYV has become dormant since Adityanath became the chief minister in 2017. 

 “At least 100-150 people visit my office daily to join HYV,” he said. 

 “Soon after he became the chief minister, there was a sudden rise in the number of people seeking HYV membership. We ensure that only genuine people join us,” he added.  

Since 2017, Bhola said, the HYV's role and responsibilities have largely changed. “Since its inception, the HYV has been working for the welfare of the Hindu community, focusing on issues of religious conversions and cow slaughter. But now the UP government has been doing this work, we don’t feel the need to launch movements against such issues,” he explained. 

He noted that the HYV now focuses more on “constructive works” like tree plantation in rural areas, and ensuring that the benefit of the government schemes reach the last person.  During the pandemic, the HYV workers distributed rations and meals and donated blood. 
Formed two decades ago, the HYV comprised a bunch of youths who gathered several criminal cases against them over the years. It was earlier limited to districts of Purvanchal, but with their boss now in his second term as the chief minister, Yogi’s army has spread itself in several areas of the state and is well aware of the power it enjoys.  

Bhola also believed that their final dream could be a reality soon. “We had a dream that the Hindu Rashtra would be a reality just like the Ram temple. Our faith has strengthened because of Maharaj ji’s leadership,” Bhola said.