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Hindu 'radical' nominated chief minister of India's most populous state

Updated Mar 18, 2017 09:14pm

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday named Hindu radical Yogi Adityanath as the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, reported the Hindustan Times.

Adityanath is known for his hardline Hindutva ideology and making anti-Muslim statements. He is popular among his supporters for his fiery speeches against minorities.

The chief minister-designate also runs an extremist organisation, Hindu Yuva Vahini, which has been accused of instigating communal tension, said The Hindu.

He describes himself as a "religious missionary and social worker" on his Lok Sabha profile.

During the recent elections in the highly-polarised state, he had stirred controversy by making claims of discrimination against Hindus and stoked anti-Muslim sentiments.

He had alleged discrimination in the supply of power to Hindu and Muslim festivals and also in the allocation of land for graveyards and crematoriums.

Adityanath has also been accused of spearheading a forced conversion initiative, called Ghar Wapsi, which targeted Muslims and Christians.

During the recent deterioration of relations between India and Pakistan, he passed statements against Bollywood actors who supported the continuation of cultural ties between the two countries.

"Shah Rukh Khan should remember that if people would boycott his films, he would also have to wander in the streets like a normal Muslim … These people are speaking in the language of terrorists. I think there is no difference between the language of Shah Rukh Khan and Hafiz Saeed," he was quoted as saying.

The chief minister-designate will be sworn in on Sunday, according to Indian media.

The BJP won a three-fourths majority in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly and is returning to power after 14 years.

Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of India, with a population of more than 200 million. Muslims form around 19pc of the population.