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The newly elected MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party have chosen Yogi Adityanath as their leader of legislature party in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

Born in a Kshatriya family in Garhwal, Uttarakhand in 1972, the 44-year-old Adityanath has been the mahant of Gorakhnath temple since 1994 and represents Gorakhapur in the Lok Sabha. He contested and won the 1998 Lok Sabha election from Gorakhpur at the age of 26. Since then, he has continuously won from the seat, all the way upto the 2014 election.

Adityanath’s profile page as a Lok Sabha MP lists his special interests as “yoga and spirituality, campaigning for cow-protection and promotion”. His favourite pastimes are “gardening, religious discourses, bhajans and touring religious spots”.

A profile in the Business Standard in 2014 reported that Adityanath had sponsored five Bills as an MP. In 2009, he asked the Centre to pass a national law banning cow slaughter. A second Bill asked for the country’s name to be changed from “India that is Bharat” to “Bharat that is Hindustan”, and a third demanded ban on forced religious conversions. Asking for an Allahabad High Court bench in Gorakhpur and a uniform civil code were the other two bills.

Strident Hindutva

In a state with nearly four crore Muslims, where the BJP decided to field not even a single candidate from the minority community in the election, the chief minister-designate could be seen as adding insult to injury, because, more than anything else, he is known for his strident anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Over the years, Adityanath has established himself as the foremost firebrand Hindutva leader. His most recent anti-Muslim statement was an endorsement of the United States President Donald Trump’s immigration ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Two years ago, he wanted Muslim places of worship to feature Hindu deities. “If given a chance, we will install statues of Goddess Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque,” he was quoted as saying at the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Virat Hindu Sammelan in Varanasi, by the Deccan Chronicle in February 2015.

He added: “Everyone, irrespective of religion, can come to Kashi but only Muslims are allowed in Mecca and Medina. This is the century of Hindutva, not just in India but in the entire world.”

In June 2015, responding to protests over the mandatory participation of government employees in the International Yoga Day, he said:

“Lord Shankar was the biggest Yogi who started Yoga. Mahadev (another name of Lord Shankar) lives in every particle of this country. So, those who want to avoid Yoga and Lord Shankar can leave Hindustan.”

He added that those opposing the surya namaskar sequence of yogic exercises should “drown themselves in the sea”.

In August 2015, he asked Hindu parents to caution their daughters about “love jihad” by young Muslim men, playing to the notion that Muslim men were attempting to seduce Hindu women in order to convert them to Islam. He also expressed fears that “high Muslim fertility rates” could lead to a demographic imbalance.

In January 2017, he said the family of Mohammad Akhlaq, who was lynched in Dadri by a mob that suspected he had kept beef at home, should face charges for cow slaughter and be stripped of the assistance they had been given after his killing.

This is not all. The chief minister-designate has repeatedly articulated his lack of faith in the law and order machinery. In an undated video, he is heard saying, “If one Hindu is killed, we won’t go to the police, we’ll kill 10 Muslims.”

In another undated video, he says: “If they take one Hindu girl, we’ll take 100 Muslim girls.”

Adityanath has had a running tussle with the state police and administration that he will now be presiding over, which has had to step in time and again to prevent him from visiting communally sensitive areas.

He has been called a “Bal Thackeray clone” and accused of instigating communal violence and riots in the past.

The details from Myneta.info, summarising cases against him as per his own affidavit at the time of contesting election, include charges of attempt to murder, criminal intimidation, rioting, promoting enmity between different groups, defiling place of worship.

A long tradition

Adityanath’s predecessor as mahant of Gorakhnath temple was Mahant Avaidyanath, one of the key figures in the Ayodhya movement that led to the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.

Avaidyanath was the disciple of Digvijay Nath, the mahant of Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur, who became the general secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha in 1950. He declared that if his party “attains power, it would deprive the Muslims of the right to vote for five to 10 years, the time that it would take for them to convince the government that their interests and sentiments are pro-Indian”, The Statesman reported on June 23, 1950.

Avaidyanath played a key role in the passing the 1989 resolution which asked for the construction of a Ram temple on the site of Babri Masjid. The Statesman reported in its edition of February 1, 1989, Mahant Avaidyanath of Gorakhpur pointed that the Quran prohibited Muslims from constructing mosques on the holy places of other religions. “And telling us to construct the temple in another place to avoid conflict is like telling Lord Rama to wed another Sita to avoid war with Ravana.”

Avaidyanath contested most of his elections till 1989 on a Hindu Mahasabha ticket. Only after the two saffron traditions merged that he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and fought the Lok Sabha elections of 1991 and 1996 from Gorakhpur on saffron party ticket.

This article was originally published at Scroll.in and has been reproduced here with permission.


Comments (89) Closed



Angry pitbull Mar 18, 2017 10:44pm

As a Indian i am really shocked on hearing this news. Still i have hope that he will prove everyone wrong. Mr.Modi is smart to keep two deputy chief ministers to keep a track on Yogi. Lets give a chance .

Harmony-1© Mar 18, 2017 10:50pm

Modi considers himself answerable to RSS than the parliament. He went to RSS headquarters to present himself before the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, a Brahmin, and BJP’s parliamentary board were there to demonstrate their accountability to the RSS as well.

Clearly, the RSS chief calls the real shots as government's policy maker as key government appointments are made with his blessing. This is happening where parliament is considered 'supreme'.

Hopelessly optimistic Mar 18, 2017 10:53pm

One may have thousands of doubts about him but I am pretty sure that the weight of responsibility will tone him down. Everyone predicted that Modi will pursue his Hindutav agenada after becoming Prime Minister but for the last two years we have seen that the only thing he talked about is development. Yogi will also follow the same suite. Moreover, India's democratic institutions and administrative structure is too sound to be hijacked by a single person. Just hope for the best.

Changez Khan Mar 18, 2017 10:53pm

The dark side of India is emerging.

Pragmatic approach Mar 18, 2017 11:02pm

It's a test for India to prove whether it's a secular democratic country or something else.

Aditya Mar 18, 2017 11:10pm

I am disappointed that I share name with him. Sad day for India.Fringe is now mainstream

rehan Mar 18, 2017 11:18pm

BJP got the mandate for change that will elevate the masses from poverty and give good governance . if they want to win 2019

zabardasst Mar 18, 2017 11:19pm

Watch CNN 'believer' by Reza Aslan, and you will see the true face of Hindus.

M. Emad Mar 18, 2017 11:16pm

Congratulation Yogi Adityanath, the new Chief Minister of UP !

Pravin Mar 18, 2017 11:27pm

If there is no Hinduism then there is no secularism. To save secularism a Polytheist Hindu must rule the Government.

Dilip thorat Mar 18, 2017 11:36pm

Democracy at work. People not liking him should have voted that day against him. Now shut-up and let him work.

Rohail Mar 18, 2017 11:37pm

Good luck to Muslims living in India! Now hopefully you will understand why Mr. Jinnah struggled for independence.

sik Mar 18, 2017 11:50pm

Please don't mix religion and politics. People of UP overwhelmingly voted for PM Modi's development for ALL irrespective of religion agenda. Modi will make sure that happens. Good luck Yogi.

Sachin Mar 19, 2017 12:19am

I dont really like him. Hope he is does good work and build equality.

Nath Mar 19, 2017 12:38am

The world's biggest so called democracy will be put to rest in the world's most populous state.

Salman Ahmed Mar 19, 2017 12:37am

wow, Sounds like a logical person for CM post

Pranav Mar 19, 2017 01:09am

Yogi Will Prove to be a Great choice for BJP as he is a Hard-task Master. Police will hav to register cases and Maintain Law and order which they were not doing when they were under SP Government. And for muslims, Even modi Jee was demonised before Being PM, not a single riot has taken place since Modi became PM. Same for Yogi jee.

Amit Shukla Mar 19, 2017 01:06am

Minorities may think anything about BJP but i personally like one thing of this party that they talk about equality of citizens, barring hindu or muslim. For this party nation come first and every law must be same for all Indians. I dont see any discrimination with any one.

Arshad, Canada Mar 19, 2017 01:57am

Wellcome to New Secular India.

Karan Mar 19, 2017 02:04am

"Hindutva unmasked" the article is titled very incorrectly. Hindutva is beautiful , and it is so accepting. It is the only religion which captures the true essence of peace. It's onl6 because of policies of minority appeasement and continuous mis adventures of Indian Muslims , ppl like Yogi has to come forward.

Imran Mar 19, 2017 02:24am

Elections have consequences. I wish muslims of India good luck.

siva Mar 19, 2017 02:35am

This reminds me of what subramanyan swamy said in a TV debate once that if the muslims stay together to form a single vote bank, it will polarise the hindu community, which will then be forced to from another vote bank and this is what had happened. People were so tired of the appeasement politics of Congress and the Samajwadi Party that they elected the BJP in huge numbers. People who criticise BJP's win as hindutva must realise they were the same ones who remained silent when Appeasement Politics was taking place. When they were silent then, They have no right to question hindutva politics either. According to them, If people vote against BJP, its for secularism but if BJP wins, it is because of communalism. People are now tired of this act.

Alba Mar 19, 2017 02:42am

He found a good job. He wouldn't have made it as a leading man in Bollywood.

imran khan Mar 19, 2017 03:17am

another proof of shining india

Sai Praneeth Mar 19, 2017 03:39am

I feel this is a good opportunity for BJP to prove that Muslims can live peacefully in Hindu Rashtra. I remember similar articles when Modi become PM of India.

Rajiv Mar 19, 2017 03:47am

Looks like Pakistanis are finally coming to senses ... that terrorism will be dealt a firm hand.

Neptune srimal Mar 19, 2017 04:27am

My God! What a chequered history! A leaders job is to unite the people and treat every citizen as equal -- I wonder how much the new CM will be able or willing to do that!

SUDHAKAR, USA Mar 19, 2017 04:31am

I for one am extremely pleased with yogijis appointment for the CM's post. I am glad no more minority appeasement.

Mohajir Mar 19, 2017 05:32am

He is a mathematics graduate and a 5 times legislator to National assembly. In any case, it's internal affair of India.

PJ Mar 19, 2017 05:41am

Congrats to proud Indian Muslims and best of luck to you guys!

S. A. M. Mar 19, 2017 05:50am

it's bad news for the indian muslims. modi has been a bad thing that happened to india. don't the indians realise how harmful the politics of hatred is. don't they learn lessons from the development the educated western world has made by giving equal rights to all citizens no matter what their faith or ethnicity is.

sachin Mar 19, 2017 05:58am

Yogi adityanath hails from rajput community and bsc in mathematics.He is five time M.P and the hard working person.

Dilip thorat Mar 19, 2017 06:47am

Yogi is the best choice by people of UP as a CM. Anti-democracy people will start finding reasons to show him in bad light.

Uday Kulkarni Mar 19, 2017 06:52am

The biggest blunder of Modi government is to appoint Yogi Adityanath as the CM . Even the demonetization was a good decision but not this. I am praying to God that he follows on the path of development and not destroy the secular fabric of my country of birth India.

Vinay Pandey Mar 19, 2017 07:08am

Thats true "yogi ji" have kattar Hindutva ideologies but we he will not do any anti muslim work after getting elected CM of uttar pradesh.

cool Himalayan lama Mar 19, 2017 07:53am

He adopted a poor orphan muslim boy ,educated him ,took care of him .The boy still stays with him and unlike muslims ,yogi dint forced him to convert and boy is still practicing islam

ABBAS (SRINAGAR) Mar 19, 2017 07:56am

I think it's high time that we all become part of Pakistan..

Sneha Mar 19, 2017 08:07am

@hassan Worry about your country. From 25% Minority it's come down to 1%. Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stone at others.

Indian Mar 19, 2017 08:04am

Best Choice.

PRO Mar 19, 2017 08:14am

Shameful at best!

Patriot IndIan Mar 19, 2017 08:16am

He is the best choice as CM. These are kind of people we need to stem vote bank politics of radical Muslims, Congress and Samajwadi Party. Absolutely elated with the choice. All the best to Yogi.

lol Mar 19, 2017 08:17am

Pakistan should give equality to their minority first .

Rakesh Mar 19, 2017 08:27am

UP is in safe hands of a Yogi... who is non- currupt, a sanyasi/jogi and who is not attached to family business & desires. UP currently needs strict Law & Order and Yogi will put it on line. He is young, energetic , disciplined & a nationalist, who will not do anything that may give a chance to his critics.

lol Mar 19, 2017 08:31am

1990s -ABV is secular ,advani is communal. 2014-advani is secular ,modi is communal. 2017-modi is secular ,yogi is communal .

Everyone is communal according to muslims .

First let him do some work then we can talk .

Simranjit singh Mann Mar 19, 2017 08:46am

Very sad part of democracy , Priests are kings now .

arun pratap Mar 19, 2017 09:08am

Wish DAWN will also publish his good work for minorities in the future.

Desi Dimag Mar 19, 2017 09:21am

Hindus suppression in them name of secularism will end now.

Desi Dimag Mar 19, 2017 09:26am

he will be proved a greater leader than the whole lot of Pakistani leaders.

Indian Mar 19, 2017 09:35am

similar doubts people had for modi , one think is clear if this guy delivers and develop UP . no body can stop BJP for next 20 years

rajesh Mar 19, 2017 09:48am

Good job hope pakistan take some jibe from Hindustan.

ahmed41 Mar 19, 2017 09:53am

@Rohail

But, Sir, Pakistan is no better.

The UK is alright.

Ansari11 Mar 19, 2017 10:01am

@Pravin

Nice joke!

Hindu Mar 19, 2017 10:01am

Yogi Adityanath is graduate in Maths.He might be staunch supporter of Hinduism, but everyone will be protected under the law as a CM.No financial waste for celebrations in becoming CM, that was his first order.

Ansari11 Mar 19, 2017 10:01am

@Dilip thorat

LOL. There have been news of rigged elections if you may agree.

naji Mar 19, 2017 10:05am

At least he will clean his province, cities, town and villages. Non of our business. See what we are doing for our provinces, cities and towns?

JGN Mar 19, 2017 10:18am

@Simranjit singh Mann, he is not just a priest. He is also 5 times MP of the Lok Sabha and has got a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics

ismail Mar 19, 2017 10:22am

He is very good for Hindus

point of view Mar 19, 2017 10:29am

He is yogi. He will concentrate on the welfare of the society.

Amir Mar 19, 2017 10:34am

The one in glass complex shouldn't throw stones at others.

INDIA Mar 19, 2017 10:37am

@Ansari11 election were also rigged in punjab , goa, manipur , delhi, bihar where BJP couldn't win .

Joe Mar 19, 2017 10:42am

You are at Liberty to keep presenting what Yogi has said over a period of times. Does it make any difference to his leading UP,? Non He is elected leader and in democracy majority has a meaning.

apoorva Mar 19, 2017 10:53am

Since 15 years it was a Muslim ruler now it's Hindus turn what's the problem

gaurav nidhi pandey Mar 19, 2017 10:56am

@Pragmatic approach something else

Shaukat Ali Khan Mar 19, 2017 11:45am

It is purely the India's internal matter.

Shafquat Mar 19, 2017 11:59am

He is honest, hardworking and reachable....something rare in politicians. About muslims, he has helped Muslim community in UP a lot which is not in the news... maybe that is not a sellable items for media. Let's see how he performs

Saif Zulfiqar Mar 19, 2017 12:23pm

@Shafqua, He will fail like Advani failed.

K SHESHU BABU Mar 19, 2017 12:26pm

The appointment is not surprising. Since the party won the elections, it was expected that RSS !Ight control the government directly or indirectly. The people may face turbulent future and all secular forces must unitely come out in solidarity with marginalised sections to fight the scourge of communalism

Ramkripal YADAV ( Ayodhya) Mar 19, 2017 12:25pm

@S. A. M. Indian Muslim has voted for him in this election because he is honest and has done many devolopment works in his area.every one who is voted for bjp in this election were know that the next cm will be Yogi adityanath. He has been mp for five times in Muslim domineted area

Sensible neighbor Mar 19, 2017 12:27pm

The guys has B.Sc. in mathematics. He is single. Not a single allegation of corruption against him although he has been a member of Parliament 5 times. Talks about equal treatment for Hindus and Muslims, which previous govt failed to ensure due to Muslims vote bank appeasement policies. What else do you want?

tushar Mar 19, 2017 12:36pm

@S. A. M. what about saudi arabia?

PSP(India) Mar 19, 2017 12:39pm

@Ansari11 Complaints from who? Those who lost election. The very same EVM system was there when they won in majority previously. Public of UP gave them chance and they failed heavily.

Siddhartha Mar 19, 2017 12:46pm

Modi's real face is coming out. By the way I am an Indian.

Asif A Shah Mar 19, 2017 12:52pm

A very bad choice for a secular India!

Desi Dimag Mar 19, 2017 01:29pm

@Siddhartha Modi's real face is coming out. By the way I am an Indian.

Modi is a naked truth nothing is there to hide so is Yogi Adityanath. May god keep you healthy.

Desi Dimag Mar 19, 2017 01:31pm

Cardiologists patient's numbers will increase drastically in UP as well as in Pakistan.

AHA Mar 19, 2017 01:53pm

At least he will not preach to take up arms like other religious leaders

lol Mar 19, 2017 02:10pm

If you call modi communal then yogi is like 10 times more communal .lets hope he become mature .

Amir Mar 19, 2017 02:59pm

@zabardasst And Indians can say much more about the other major religion in the subcontinent. Its better not to bring religion into everything and keep the religious hatred firmly locked in one's own heart.

Apache_indian Mar 19, 2017 05:58pm

@Harmony-1©,

"Modi considers himself answerable to RSS than the parliament. He went to RSS headquarters to present himself before the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, a Brahmin"

It may come as a surprise to you but Brahmins have been heads of state in India all along since 1947. This includes Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee?

This Hindu nationalism you see in India is a backlash against this pseudo 'secular' parties of breaking Hindus into castes and then appeasing muslims. This has neither helped muslims progress nor has it helped India make progress in policies due to regional fragmentation.

Harmony-1© Mar 19, 2017 06:34pm

@Apache_indian: No, it not "surprise". I knew!

Apache_indian Mar 19, 2017 07:22pm

@Harmony-1©,

I understand your concern. I grew up in India with friends from all religions and the last thing I will tolerate is any sort of attack on their religion. It is not in the ethos of Dharma to convert others or force our way of thinking on others.

We are just tired of corrupt divisive politics that feeds on religious and caste identity in the name of 'secularism'. This whole RSS movement is an attempt to replace that religion/caste based identity with an Indian national identity.

These saffron clad guys may have a big mouth but they also happen to be highly educated. Adityanath has a mathematics degree. Former RSS head Rajendra Singh was a nuclear physics professor who studied under nobel laureate CV Raman. Dr Raman had identified Singh as an "exceptionally brilliant" physicist. Dr Murali Manohar Joshi, another RSS strongman, is a professor of Physics.

Sanjay Mar 20, 2017 03:00am

Why is everyone complaining? People have voted fair and square. They got the Government of their choice. Even Muslims voted for BJP.

Cheerful citizen Mar 20, 2017 06:11am

@Arshad, Canada Are you inviting on behalf of neighbour?!

deepak Mar 20, 2017 10:20am

@Harmony-1© people of india voting to Modi not RSS don't worry.

Samir,India Mar 20, 2017 10:55am

Secular minded in people in India whether Hindus, Muslims etc now have learned that parties have used them for years after partition in the name of secularism and committed corruption and nothing else.

They have now put their faith in right-wing Modi's BJP only and only because Modi's policy of development is inclusive across all the section of the society then merely talking about emptiness of secularism.

Now India's rise ie eminent.

rahul1 Mar 20, 2017 12:24pm

@Arshad, Canada Dear Secular is an alien word/concept - It has been overused & misused by congress to lure Muslims of India to remain in power. Now Indians (both nonMuslims & Muslims) understand that game and have voted against them

kunal majumdar Mar 20, 2017 12:27pm

How come the article is not talking about the way he fought with the state govt. to ensure right compensation for Muslim families for their land. For the innumerable times he helped Muslim families/people to get justice in Gorakhpur. Give him one year at least. If he deviates from his responsibilities and doesn't change his spots, crucify him. If not, respect him.

Divakar Mar 20, 2017 12:39pm

@lol : Ha ha Ha .They seems to be confused lot.

D.K. PAMNANI Mar 21, 2017 09:53am

He is owning Ayurveda Hospital at Gorakhpur where Muslims Doctors are working. He is the best candidate for CM. Muslims living in that area goes to his hospital for treatment and they are happy.