Priest-turned politician and controversial leader of hardline Hindutva, Yogi Adityanath was on Sunday sworn in as the 21st chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and the fourth from the saffron party, ending its 15-year hiatus in UP. 

In a move that had taken many by surprise, Adityanath was unanimously elected the BJP legislature party leader at a meeting of the newly elected MLAs, amid a chorus of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, reported Deccan Chronicle. 

Here is all you need to know about the controvertial new UP CM: 

  • The 44-year-old Yogi Adityanath is a five-time elected MP from Gorakhpur, who lacks any administrative experience.
  • He was born Ajay Mohan Bisht but later changed his name after his indoctrination into the Nath sect.

5-Time Lawmaker 

  • Adityanath is a noted Hindu leader, a disciple and nephew of BJP MP Mahant Avidyanath, who had played a key role in the 1992 Ram Mandir Movement, and is known for previously making religious hate speeches. 
  • Adityanath took up the Nath sect in 1994, and took over as the Chief priest of the venerated Gorakhnath temple after the passing of Mahant Avidyanath in 2014. 
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  • According a report in Hindustan Times, the leader has had strained relations with BJP since 2007 when he was booked for inciting communal riots. 

‘Radical, Pro-Hindutva’ Leader 

  • In 1999, Adiyanath came to the forefront of the Hindutva movement when he allegedly attempted to capture a Muslim burial ground into a Hindu land by planting a peepal tree on the land in an Uttar Pradesh village. 
  • In 2007, Adityanath was arrested and spent 15 days in prison for alleged hate speeches that incited communal riots in Gorakhpur, leading to the death of a Muslim youth. His hate speech followed the previous killing of a Hindu youth. He is still facing two of the charges related to the incident. 

Controversial Statements

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  • Controversial communal statements made by the leader include asking Hindus to rape dead Muslim women in 2015. He had also earlier claimed in 2005 that he will not rest untill he turns UP into a Hindu Rashtra. 
  • He also made controversial staements regarding Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, claiming that he would have to wander the streets like a ‘normal Muslim’, and also drawing comparisons between the actor and Hafiz Saeed. 

Many confused 

The elevation of Adityanath, who has chequered rapport with the BJP leadership, has left many puzzled, with political circles abuzz with talk of the RSS having prevailed over the party in deciding the chief minister. 

Adityanath has chosen two deputy chief ministers to maintain the caste balance in UP. 

BJP state unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya and party’s national vice president Dinesh Sharma were sworn in as cabinet ministers by Governor Ram Naik at a grand ceremony at Kanshiram Smriti Upvan here.

They will assist 44-year-old Adityanath as as deputy chief ministers.

(With inputs from PTI)

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