Hardline Hindu priest becomes UP chief minister

Pablo Tucker
March 20, 2017

Adityanath, the five-time MP, is the BJP's fourth Chief Minister of UP and his assuming power ends the party's 15-year hiatus in the Hindi heartland state.

According to him, Adityanath led a group that carried out communal violence in 2007.

After one of the most striking results from the elections in UP, there have been a lot of discussion among the masses to discuss the Chief minister of the state and the cabinet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing party has picked a controversial firebrand leader to head India's most populous state, where it won a landslide victory last week.

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".

Sharma, 53, has been closely associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, in choosing these leaders, the BJP has also ignored western and north-western Uttar Pradesh, from where it swept the 2017 elections.

This has meant however that a Hindu agenda has been stressed earlier in the life of the national BJP government than Modi seems to have intended. Baldev Aulakh, a Sikh, who won the election from Bilaspur in Rampur, was also sworn in.

After the ceremony, Modi said in a tweet: "Our sole mission and motive is development".

While Sharma has opted for an active yet low-profile public life, on Sunday he came under the spotlight as he took oath as deputy chief minister. He had 18 criminal cases registered against him according to one tally during the 2014 parliament elections, including attempted murder, criminal intimidation and rioting.

Baldev Singh Aulakh was the only other minority community MLA. Though the BJP ensured that no Muslims were given tickets in the Assembly polls, a surprise inclusion in the newly formed cabinet is cricketer-turned-politician and BJP spokesperson in the state, Mohsin Raza, who was sworn in as a minister of state.

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 federal home minister and a Lucknow MP. He has run an activist and sometimes violent youth organisation, the Hindu Yuva Vahini and has been prominent in cow-protection and anti-beef eating campaigns.

He has called upon all Muslims who oppose yoga, practised largely by Hindus, to either leave the country or drown themselves in the sea.

While BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said the choice was democratic - a unanimous decision taken by the state's MLAs - but it looks Adityanath was picked by the top office.

Other reports by iNewsToday