[Yogi Adityanath (centre) is offered sweets after he was elected as Uttar Pradesh chief minister during the party lawmakers’ meeting in Lucknow on Saturday. (Photo: Reuters)]
New Delhi: Reacting to the appointment of Yogi Adityanath, a known hardliner and Hindutva poster boy, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Staurday accused the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) of "double standard" and criticised the party of patronising a "person with criminal record".
"This gentleman has a criminal record. Several charges like rioting and more serious offences are against him in various courts in UP. That's the issue. Then why this rhetoric of ending criminalisation," senior party leader Brinda Karat said, apparently referring to the BJP's criticism of the erstwhile Samajwadi Party government over alleged poor law and order.
"All the tall talk of development has gone out of the window. They have chosen a man who made his political career through hate speeches and communal violence. A man who has several criminal cases against him. Such a man is going to be the Chief Minister -- it is a sad day for Uttar Pradesh and a sadder day for India," Karat said.
"It is clearly the RSS agenda and UP is the new experimental field for it. Since it is the victory of RSS (in UP elections), it has chosen the CM", she said.
Congress leader Veerappa Moily also called Yogi Adityanath's election by BJP MLA as Chief Minister Uttar Pradesh the "biggest assault" on secularism.
"It is a big assault on secularism in the country. Maybe, the BJP or RSS would like to endorse their cause of Hinduism. India is not Hinduism. Hinduism is not India.
"India is built above castes and religions and 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (the world is one family) is the very foundation of our secular society. It is the biggest assault ever done on secularism," Moily said.
Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha also said that the decision sent out an "unambiguous" message that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is pursuing the policy of polarisation.
Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agrawal however reacted cautiously to the Yogi's elevation.
"I congratulate him on his election. We will wait and watch for six months. We hope he will change his thinking and desist from creating a divide between Hindus and Muslims. If he does, we will go among the people and oppose him," he said.
Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy said: "The BJP is in majority and it is their prerogative as to whom they name as the Chief Minister. But it is evident that the BJP wants to pursue a strong Hindutva line in Uttar Pradesh."
Notwithstanding the Hindutva rabble rouser image of the 44-year-old 5-time MP from Gorakhpur, BJP spokesman Siddharth Nath Singh said, "That image may be with media but he has been elected again and again. He stands for development and that is the agenda we have got and we will will stick to the agenda."
Several other leaders said Adityanath will take the state on the development path and make it 'Uttam Pradesh' (best state).
"New dimensions of development will be established in the state under him," party general secretary Bhupendra Yadav said.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said UP will benefit a lot from his "competent leadership" and will soon become 'Uttam Pradesh'.
"Every citizen of the state will benefit from Adityanath's philosophy of people's welfare and taking everybody along. Development of all will be done," Chouhan tweeted.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the lone Muslim minister in the Narendra Modi government, defended BJP's choice of Adityanath as the next UP chief minister, saying he will work for the party's "inclusive growth" agenda.
"I congratulate him. He has been in public life for a long time. He will realise the Prime Minister's commitment of inclusive growth in Uttar Pradesh. Definitely, he will prove best chief minister of the state," Naqvi told PTI.
Rejecting suggestions that he was a Hindu hardliner, Naqvi said Adityanath was a "hardline leader of inclusive development" who will prove political pundits and analysts who have apprehensions about him "wrong".
Yogi Adityanath has been elected BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh Assembly after the meeting of party MLAs held today in Lucknow. Though Union Minister Venkiah Naidu who was present in the meeting as party observer termed the decision "unanimous" and had the backing of all MLAs, party insiders said that in many ways both Amit Shah and Narendra Modi were "arm twisted" into decision making.