Five-time BJP MP Yogi Adityanath has been chosen as the next Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
Adityanath has been one of the star campaigners for the BJP in the run-up to this Assembly election. In February 2017, Adityanath had asserted that the alleged exodus of Hindus from Kairana and ‘love jihad’ were important issues for the party.
The BJP, he said, will not let Western Uttar Pradesh turn into “another Kashmir”, a reference to the forced migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s.
Adityanath, a Thakur, was the youngest member of the 12th Lok Sabha at the age of 26.
The HYV, particularly effective in the eastern districts of Deoria, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Siddharthnagar, functions as a vigilante social outfit in the state. Considered a Hindu hardliner, Adityanath has worked closely with BJP President Amit Shah since 2012.
Adityanath was appointed as the head priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt following the death of his spiritual ‘father’, Mahant Avaidyanath in September 2014.
Adityanath’s original name is Ajay Singh Bisht. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree (B.Sc.) in Science from HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar (Garhwal), Uttarakhand.
Adityanath also has a knack for stirring up national controversies. He had likened Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to Pakistan-based terror fountainhead Hafiz Saeed, saying that Khan increasingly spoke like Hafiz Saeed.
Adityanath was also arrested in the 2007 Gorakhpur riots. In the riots, a Hindu boy was killed after a mob opened fire on a Muslim procession. After this, Adityanath had allegedly vowed to deliver ‘justice’ to Hindus and announced a “Shraddhanjali Sabha” (homage meeting) as well as a torchlight procession.