.Mahant Balaknath, often referred to as the ‘Yogi of Rajasthan,’ has been making headlines for his strong remarks and strategic political moves. The BJP strategically chose him to contest against Imran Khan in the Assembly election, a move that proved successful as Balaknath emerged triumphant with a margin of over 6,000 votes.
The political landscape in Rajasthan has been evolving, with no clear projection of a chief ministerial candidate by the BJP. However, a surprising twist unfolded in the India Today-Axis My India exit poll released on December 1, where Balaknath emerged as a surprise choice for the chief minister by 10 per cent of the surveyed Rajasthan voters. This unexpected turn of events has added an intriguing dimension to the post-election scenario in the state.
Balaknath’s victory is not just a personal triumph; it reflects the changing dynamics of political preferences in the region. With 32 per cent favouring the incumbent Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and 21 per cent expressing openness to any BJP leader, Balaknath’s emergence as a popular choice underscores his growing influence in Rajasthan politics.
Drawing parallels with Yogi Adityanath of Uttar Pradesh, Balaknath has strategically positioned himself as the Adityanath of Rajasthan. The imagery of bulldozers, closely associated with Yogi Adityanath’s governance style, has become a symbolic representation in Balaknath’s campaign. Notably, Yogi Adityanath himself has actively supported Balaknath, campaigning alongside him during the filing of nomination papers.
At 39 years old, Balaknath dons the saffron robes of a Hindu mahant, aligning himself with the Nath sect, the same sect as Yogi Adityanath. Describing Yogi Adityanath as his “elder brother,” Balaknath has managed to create a connection with voters who resonate with the leadership style of the UP Chief Minister.
Hailing from the Mastnath Mutt of Rohtak, Balaknath is the eighth mahant of this prominent Nath sect establishment. The Mutt is known for running educational institutions and hospitals. Balaknath’s journey into ascetic life began at the age of six when he was sent to Mahant Khetanath. Later, he became a disciple of Mahant Vhand Nath, who declared him as his successor in 2016.
Despite his ascetic background, Balaknath holds a Class 12 qualification, as indicated by the affidavit filed for the Tijara assembly election. Financially, he declared assets of around 14 lakh in his bank account.
Tijara, with its 2.61 lakh voters, holds a crucial position in the political landscape, especially given its Muslim-dominated Mewat region bordering Haryana. Balaknath’s victory in this diverse constituency signifies his ability to connect with voters across religious and cultural lines. The presence of approximately one lakh Muslim voters in Tijara adds another layer of significance to Balaknath’s triumph.
The journey to victory was not without its challenges, with internal differences arising due to the choice of Balak nath as the candidate, replacing BJP MLA Maman Singh. However, Singh later rallied behind Balaknath, showcasing party unity and strength.
As the results unfold, all eyes are on Balaknath to see if he will emerge as the winner from Tijara and the percentage of votes he secures. His victory has not only secured a seat for the BJP but has also positioned him as a formidable political force in Rajasthan, setting the stage for potential leadership roles in the state. The ‘Yogi of Rajasthan’ has indeed made a significant mark in the political arena, and his influence is poised to grow in the coming days.