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BJP springs saffron surprise, picks Yogi Adityanath as UP chief minister

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New ERA Adityanath will have 2 Dy CMs, both having  strong links with the Hindutva brigade.

Lucknow : Yogi Adityanath, the controversial mascot of hardline Hindutva, will be the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

In a move that surprised many, the 44-year-old five-term MP from Gorakhpur was elected the BJP legislature party leader at a meeting of the newly-elected MLAs, a week after BJP won a resounding three-fourth majority in the key Hindi heartland state, making a combeback to power after 15 years.


Later, addressing reporters, Yogi Adityanath said he foremost task was to put UP back on the development path.

State BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, who was himself in the contention for the top job, first announced Adityanath’s election. Maurya, the MP from Phulpur in Allahabad, will be the deputy chief minister as also senior BJP leader and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma.

Later, addressing the media, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who along with BJP general-secretary Bhupendra Yadav was present at the meeting as central observer for the election, said that Adityanath’s name was proposed by Suresh Khanna, an 8-term MLA, and seconded by 10 others. Naidu said even after the proposal was made, he asked the 312 newly-elected MLAs if they wanted to propose anybody else for the post, but they all backed Adityanath unanimously.

Naidu said that Yogi then said he needed two deputy CMs to assist him in the gigantic task, following which it was decided that Maurya and Sharma would hold the posts.

As the meeting was about to begin, an element of surprise gripped the venue when Adityanath reached Lok Bhawan just opposite the imposing Assembly complex. Midway through the meeting, Sharma was asked to attend the deliberations. Interestingly, none of the three is a legislator in Uttar Pradesh.

As soon as it was decided that the saffron-robed Gorakhpur MP will hold the reins of the state, party leaders and MLAs rushed to the dais with sweets and garlands.

Adityanath will be the 21st chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and the fourth from the saffron party. He will be sworn in tomorrow at a ceremony at Kanshiram Smriti Upvan at 2.15 pm where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah will be present.

KNOW THE MAN

  • In 1998 Yogi Adityanath entered the political arena

after leaving his ancestral home at Pancher village in Pauri Garhwal where he was born on June 5, 1972.

  • A B.Sc graduate (1993) from Garhwal University in Uttarakhand, Yogi made his Parliament debut after winning the election in 1998 from Gorakhpur. He won the seat five times with large margins.
  • Adityanath received deeksha of the Nath sect at the Gorakhnath temple in 1994. He addressed Mahant Avidyanath as Guruji. Yogi Adityanath took over as chief priest of Gorakhnath temple after Mahant Avidyanath passed away in 2014.

Controversies: Adityanath’s radical pro-Hindutva image came to the fore for the first in February 1999, when he allegedly tried to capture a graveyard land by planting a peepal tree at Panch Rukhiya village in Maharajganj district. A case under several sections of the IPC was registered against him in 2007. Just before the assembly polls, Adityanath had to spend 15 days in jail when he was booked for inciting riots in Gorakhpur. He is still facing trial in two cases.