The elevation of five-time Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath to the post of BJP legislative party leader in Uttar Pradesh came as a surprise for many due to his controversial background. Yogi, who has often found himself in the middle of controversies because of his statements against minorities, was the party’s choice to lead the country’s most populous state after it won a two-third majority in the Assembly elections.
The announcement drew mixed reactions from the media, political circles and public. His appointment also drew sharp criticism from opposition parties who accused the BJP of propping up a divisive figure after running the poll campaign on the promise of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas‘.
Here is how the international media reported this news:
New York Times (US)
“The choice of Yogi Adityanath — who has been repeatedly accused of stirring anti-Muslim sentiments — to lead Uttar Pradesh, came as a shock to many political observers here, who have become accustomed to the carefully moderated public positions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in line with his projected image as a pro-development leader and global statesman,” read the NYT report. It also mentioned that Yogi Adityanath had openly called for making India a Hindu nation.
The Al-Jazeera report, while calling him a firebrand in the headline, highlighted his alleged anti-Muslim stand. It also mentioned the time when Yogi Adityanath lauded US President Donald Trump’s decision to impose travel-ban on some Muslim-majority countries. “He has also supported strong laws for cow protection, and said minority groups that oppose yoga should either leave the country or drown themselves in the sea,” stated the report.
British Broadcasting Corporation (UK)
The BBC news report focused on the criticism surrounding Yogi’s appointment. It mentioned that the opposition leaders had criticised the decision but BJP MPs defended it. The report also quoted Congress leader Manish Tewari. ” Mr Adityanath is widely regarded as a polarising figure because of his well-publicised anti-Muslim comments. The BJP leaders probably believe that their election formula of consolidating the votes of the Hindu majority will help them to sail through the next general elections,” it added.
One of the leading newspapers from neighboring Pakistan, Dawn used a report published by Scroll.in and retained the headline too. The report extensively talks about Yogi’s Hindutva ideology and his record as an MP from Gorakhpur. It also highlights Yogi Adityanath’s past and how he became the ‘mahant’ and also the involvement of his predecessor in Ram Janmabhoomi Movement. “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,” said the report.