Firebrand Hindutva leader Yogi Adityanath has stressed that in his new role as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, his top priority will be all-pervasive growth and development of the state, indicating that he was ready to toe the moderate line in sync with his party’s central leadership.
“The Prime Minister’s popularity has been validated throughout this election, in which he made himself and his actions the main issue in many public speeches”. He was sworn in as a Minister of State. He was arrested for allegedly inciting Gorakhpur riots in 2007.
The controversial BJP MP has been one of the more criticised members of the party.
BJP’s landslide electoral win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand validates Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity but consolidation of his hold over the party may lead to the total absence of dissent within party ranks, official Chinese media commented on Sunday. Yet he agreed to the appointment of Adityanath probably, it is being widely suggested, under pressure from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s extreme right wing umbrella organization, to which he and Adityanath, and the two deputy chief ministers, have allegiance. However, in choosing these leaders, the BJP has also ignored western and north-western Uttar Pradesh, from where it swept the 2017 elections.
Earlier, television footage showed BJP workers garlanding and feeding candies to the Hindu hardliner who was draped in his iconic saffron-coloured robe. Baldev Aulakh, a Sikh, who won the election from Bilaspur in Rampur, was also sworn in.
Mr Modi expressed confidence in the new government, saying that the state would have “record development”. And then comes the shocker of the elevation of Adityanath, a man who is not religious but communal.
In choosing Adityanath, Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma – two leaders from the upper castes and one from the backward caste – the BJP has balanced the caste considerations.
India’s 1.3 billion people are about 80 percent Hindu and 14 percent Muslim, with the rest made up of Christians, Sikhs and other minorities.
Adityanath will head a 47-member cabinet that includes two deputy CMs. Mohsin Raza – minister of state – is the only Muslim face in the council of ministers.
Ved Prakash Gupta and Brijesh Singh, the BJP MLAs from Ayodhya and Deoband, categorically denied there was any opposition to Adityanath’s name or there were other leaders in the fray.
He has also supported strong laws for cow protection, and said minority groups that oppose yoga should either leave the country or drown themselves in the sea.
Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said the decision sent out an “unambiguous” message that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is pursuing the policy of polarisation.