Lucknow: Firebrand leader Yogi Adityanath on Sunday took charge of Uttar Pradesh as its 21st Chief Minister, heading a 47-member ministry that included known Hindutva faces and political turncoats.
The oath-taking at Smriti Upvan, which marked the return of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power in the country’s most populous state, was watched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, BJP Chief Ministers besides thousands of cheering supporters.
As celebrations erupted in Adityanath’s native village Panchur in Uttarakhand and Gorakhpur town, Modi congratulated the new Chief Minister and his team and hoped they will transform Uttar Pradesh into “Uttam Pradesh”.
“I have immense confidence that this new team will leave no stone unturned in making UP Uttam Pradesh,” tweeted Modi, a star attraction at the Sunday event. “There will be record development… When UP develops, India develops.”
The Prime Minister’s insistence on development being the only aim of the Adityanath government appears to be an attemptto allay apprehensions that some quarters may have over the hardline Hindutva mascot taking over as the Chief Minister. Governor Ram Naik administered the oath of office and secrecy to Yogi Adityanath, a Gorakhpur MP known for his hardline Hindutva views, Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma as well as 44 ministers.
Maurya is the state BJP chief and a Lok Sabha member from Phoolpur while Sharma is the Lucknow Mayor. There are 22 members of the cabinet, nine ministers of state with independent charge and 13 ministers of state.
Om Prakash Rajbhar, leader of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, a BJP ally, was also sworn in as a cabinet minister. The sole Muslim in the ministry is former cricketer Mohsin Raza, who is not a member of the assembly as the BJP did not field any Muslim in the election. Raza is a minister with independent charge. Baldev Olakh, who won from Bilaspur, is the Sikh face of the ministry.
Dressed in his characteristic saffron robes, Adityanath, after taking oath, walked over to and sought the blessings of BJP veterans L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi as well as Rajnath Singh, the Home Minister and a Lucknow MP. Prominent among the cabinet ministers are veteran BJP legislators Surya Pratap Shahi, Suresh Khanna, a seven-time legislator from Shahjahanpur, Ramapati Shastri, and Rajesh Agarwal. IANS
No say in selection: RSS
Coimbatore: Amid speculation that the Sangh pushed for Yogi Adityanath’s candidature as UP CM, the RSS said it was a political decision and it had no say in the selection of chief ministers in BJP-ruled states. Replying to a specific question on choosing Adityanath, a swayamsevak, as Chief Minister, RSS Joint General Secretary Bhagaiah told reporters it was a political decision. When pointed out that BJP has elected Trivendra Singh Rawat, a RSS pracharak, as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also an RSS man.