Adityanath, in turn, hissed back at Kher, calling him a real-life villain.

Over the past week, however, the de-fanged actor has mostly been silent. On being prodded to comment on the turn of events since last year’s public fracas, Kher told “Did I? But that’s okay. Ten years ago, I had a fight with my cousin brother also. He’s (Adityanath) there because he has been elected. That’s all.”

Touche. Besides, Kher is given to painting himself into uncomfortable corners.

However, there were other class acts. Like activist and born-again Modi fan Madhu Purnima Kishwar.

In an April 15, 2015, post on Facebook, the professor at the New Delhi-based Indian Council of Social Science Research, had asked, “How can a venom spewing man like Adityanath be called a ‘Yogi’?”

Yogi refers to a person who practices yoga, the ancient Indian discipline of mental and physical health, and is said to be generally calm and detached from worldly affairs.

However, since Adityanath’s rise to grace last weekend, here she is, singing paeans to him.

Kishwar even lampooned Adityanath’s critics.

In fact, Adityanath’s party itself seems to have learnt a lesson. Not wishing to come across as a hub of the loonie right-wing, the BJP had earlier refused to give him much play overtly in UP. For long, they had relegated the Yogis, Sadhvis, and Maharajs to the “fringe.” But that was then.

When the BJP lost crucial local elections in 2014, it was blamed on Adityanath not being fielded to even campaign. The priest himself lamented this.

So, to the discomfiture of legions of non-celebrity, ”moderate,” Modi backers, who were probably winding down over the last weekend, the prime minister shifted the poles: The fringe was suddenly the centre.

Not surprisingly, “let’s give him a chance,” became the new leitmotif.

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