Modi picks Hindu hardliner to lead India's most populous state

Mar 19, 2017, 00:57
Modi picks Hindu hardliner to lead India's most populous state

In a last-minute twist to Uttar Pradesh chief ministerial pick, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah made a decision to spring a surprise and go for Hindu hardliner and five-time Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, 44, for the Lucknow hot seat.

Adityanath will take oath as UP Chief Minister on Sunday.

While an official announcement on who will be the CM is expected tomorrow when the legislative party will meet in Lucknow, media reports suggest that PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are unanimous in given "Mr Clean" Sinha the high-profile job. This also means that BJP's big catch-phrase Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, which it adopted ahead of 2014 parliamentary election and Prime Minister Narendra Modi as rest of his party colleagues would so proudly repeat on all possible forums will be reduced to a cruel joke.

For the BJP's critics, the anointment of Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister came as a vindication of what they have been saying: that the party's talk of development was just a cover. However, the latter is considered to be a more influential leader, owing to his dedicated cadre of Hindu Yuva Vahini.

The BJP had a landslide victory in UP this month when they secured 312 seats in the 2017 assembly polls.

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Adityanath, known for his hardline Hindutva rhetoric, pitched for inclusive development on being confronted by the press on Saturday.

"These discussions are futile and unnecessary", Rajnath told ANI when asked about him being in the race for becoming UP Chief Minister. But there are only two criminal cases against him, one of which pertains to the killing of a gunman of a rival political leader from the Samajwadi Party at Maharajganj near Gorakhpur, in 1999. Or should we view the leader from Gorakhpur as the new face of development?

Till Saturday noon, there were speculations that Union minister of state for Telecom Manoj Sinha would be the likely choice of the BJP leadership. Leaders of two allies of the BJP -Apna Dal (Sonelal) chief and Union minister Anupriya Patel and Suheldeo Bhartiya Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar were also present in the meeting.

Opposition MPs criticised the appointment, but BJP ministers defended it.

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