Uttar Pradesh finally got its chief minister after a long drawn out electoral battle. Yogi Adityanath was sworn in head of the UP government on Sunday, a day after he was picked by his party as chief minister of the state at a meeting in Lucknow. The oath was administered by Governor Ram Naik. Apart from Adityanath, Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma were also sworn-in as the deputy chief ministers in a Cabinet which will have 23 other ministers.
The ceremony took place at Smriti Upvan in Lucknow and was attended by a large number of state and national politicians including former chief minister of UP Akhilesh Yadav, chief minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal and chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu. Veteran BJP leader L K Advani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were also present at the event.
BJP’s choice of Adityanath as the chief minister of UP has left the country divided. Known for his firebrand Hindutva image, Adityanath has come under attack on a number of occasions for his anti-minority speeches. The saffron leader has had an uneasy existence within his party too and often maintained a distance, even staying away from important events and rallies. However, Adityanath needed the party less than the party needed him, particularly in Eastern UP where his popularity did not even require a push from the ‘Modi wave’. It was only in 2014 though that the BJP finally decided to cash in on his Hindutva image and provided him with a helicopter to campaign in Muslim majority regions.
Adityanath’s popularity in the state was well recognised by his party who decided to give him the most important position in the state Legislative Assembly. However, the party’s decision has come under severe attack from opposition parties who have pointed out to the criminal charges against the pro-Hindutva leader. The CPI(M) on Sunday issued a press release calling the decision “a mockery of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for inclusive growth”. “Adityanath is a known Hindutva fanatic who has a record of inciting communal violence, having a number of criminal cases pending against him. He also espouses extremely casteist views, ” said a CPM press release.
The BJP leaders, however, have come out strongly in support of their choice for the UP CM. After congratulating Adityanath, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his confidence in the new CM through a tweet: “I have immense confidence that this new team will leave no stone unturned in making UP Uttam Pradesh. There will be record development. Our sole mission and motive is development. When Uttar Pradesh develops, India develops. We want to serve UP’s youth and create opportunities for them.”
Hailing the party’s decision as one that will be beneficial to Uttar Pradesh, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said on Sunday that he was confident Yogiji will soon become the “face of development in Uttar Pradesh”. “He has been a fighter for the people’s cause. He has declared that ‘Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra’ of the BJP manifesto is his agenda.”
Adrressing a press conference after taking charge as Uttar Pradesh CM, Adityanath said: “Our government is fully committed to fulfil the promises that were made (before elections).”
Adityanath’s home constituency Gorakhpur broke out in celebrations soon after the former was declared chief minister. Members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini were seen distributing sweets and cheering for the newly sworn in leader.
Yogi Adityanath’s swearing in as chief minister comes days after BJP made a sweeping victory in Uttar Pradesh, winning 312 out of 403 seats in the state.