Hindu priest takes oath as chief of India's largest state

Though Union Minister Venkiah Naidu who was present in the meeting as party observer termed the decision "unanimous" and had the backing of all MLAs, party insiders said that in many ways both Amit Shah and Narendra Modi were "arm twisted" into decision making.

POLITICAL ANALYST SANDEEP SHASTRI, on concerns over Mr Adityanath's strident anti-Muslim stance. There are precedents for Hindu devotees taking high office, he said, including Uma Bharti, a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh state who is now Modi's water resources minister.

Mr Modi personally led the campaign against regional rivals the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj party.

After much ado by the Bharatiya Janta Patry and after many speculations that have been going on in the political world as well as among the common public of the nation, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh is now announced.

In a first, two ministers - state BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma - will be sworn in as deputy chief ministers of the state.

In a front-page story Sunday, the Times of India called the selection of the "saffron hardliner" a "defiant assertion" of the party's Hindu nationalist credentials. It seems now that the BJP government in UP will go ahead with further communalization and consolidation of expanded Hindutva constituency before the 2019 general elections, besides peppering it with development of most backward UP with one-sixth of population and nearly one-fifth of Lok Sabha seats. 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.

Mr Adityanath was diplomatic in his comments after being named to the post on Saturday.

"That is why they have made an RSS man the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh", BSP supremo Mayawati said yesterday.

He was arrested in 2007 and spent 11 days in prison for violating prohibitory orders in what was deemed a "communally sensitive area", with tensions between the Muslim and Hindu communities. BJP manifesto had promised action against cow slaughterhouse and Yogi Adityanath has also been raising the issue for a while.

Math sources said Adityanath had taken over the conduct of the daily rituals from his guru, Mahant Avaidyanath, more than 20 years ago.

  • Leroy Wright