The BJP has chosen firebrand Hindutva leader Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, where it had won the Assembly elections by a sizeable margin. And the reactions and assumptions are coming thick and fast about what will happen in the politically important and often-polarised state now.
Here are five things that are bound to happen in UP as Yogi Adityanath takes oath along with his Cabinet of ministers on Sunday, March 19.
1. Beef ban: Like it or not, Uttar Pradesh is staring at an impending beef ban. Yogi Adityanath is a cow conservationist, and will be more than happy to impose a ban on beef, cow slaughter and anything on those lines in the state. Such bans are already in place in Maharashtra and Haryana, both of which are ruled by the BJP and headed by chief ministers who have connections to the RSS.
2. More talk, and construction, of Ram Temple: The Ram Temple has been a poll issue for a long time, and is expected to rear its ugly head again as Yogi Adityanath orders its construction. Of course, there will be some build-up to it: The state government will first order construction, then someone will challenge the order in court, then the issue will be taken up by the Opposition both in the state and in Parliament, and finally construction will start in Ayodhya amid all the chaos.
3. Reiteration of his controversial remarks: Yogi Adityanath is a vocal leader, and whenever he has spoken his mind, there has been controversy. From his remarks blaming Muslims for communal riots to those expressing a desire to put idols of Lord Ganesh in mosques, the head priest of the Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur is a veteran when it comes to creating controversies. He will make some more of these remarks, and give the Opposition some more fuel to attack the BJP at the state and national levels.
4. Continued public and political outrage: While calls for award waapsi – the returning of government honours in protest against its actions – have already started surfacing, one can safely say that the public outrage that had begun will not end anytime soon. As Yogi Adityanath continues to make controversial statements, the reactions will come thick and fast.
5. More Vin Diesel and other memes: Social media – for the most part – is polarised over the choice of Yogi Adityanath as UP chief minister. Some are vaunting it, while others are all but flaying the BJP for the choice. And then there are those who are comparing him to actor Vin Diesel because they look somewhat similar. These memes will continue, at least for some time. Meanwhile, others like rapper Macklemore are also entering the comparison. Here's predicting that other follically-challenged or head-shaven celebrities – like Sir Patrick Stewart and Jay Z – will soon rub shoulders with Yogi Adityanath in memes.