Lucknow: Ending about a week's suspense, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday picked Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, a known hardliner, as the next Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. He will sworn in as 32nd Chief Minister of the state along with two Deputy CMs and other cabinet ministers Sunday.
According to the party sources, Keshav Maurya and Dinesh Sharma have been named as Yogi's deputies.
Adityanath's name was proposed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suresh Khanna and was supported by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.
Venkaiha Naidu later said all MLAs present in the meeting supported Yogi Adityanath as the state's chief minister. MLA Sangeet Som said "Yogi Adityanath was the first choice for BJP".
However, BJP insiders privy to the decision said that in many ways both Amit Shah and Narendra Modi were "arm twisted" into decision making.
"UP is different. Here people suffer from subdued arrogance and political empowerment...they are not too keen to follow blind diktats," said a senior journalist who did not rule out that the sulking Yogi could have put the prime minister and Shah under some "pressure".
Earlier, the name of Union Minister Manoj Sinha was taking round. But the BJP's 312 newly-elected MLAs met in Capital Lucknow and formally elected Yogi Adityanath as their new leader.
The name of Yogi Adityanath, also head priest of the Gorakhnath temple in eastern UP, began to do the rounds as a possible candidate only on Saturday afternoon. Adityanath, who has arrived at the BJP's legislature party meet, also flew down to New Delhi in the morning to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Sources said the party's ideological mentor, the RSS, has vetoed the party's top choice for Chief Minister, Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha. Sinha is a rebel in the RSS book. Following this BJP President Amit Shah met RSS leaders later in the day to finalise who would be Chief Minister.
Supporters of Yogi Adityanath were demanding since last one week from the top party leadership to make him chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. There was also a row before the UP elections when Yogi Aidtyanath demanded he be projected as CM.
As the BJP MLAs began the meeting to elect the Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath supporters cahnted "Yogi, Yogi".
Reports also said, supporters of Aadityanath storm the venue, chanting 'Desh me Modi, Pradesh me Yogi' in praise of the firebrand MP of Gorakhpur.
Adityanath was born in a village in present-day Uttrakhand in 1972 as Ajay Singh to a Rajput family. He later took the name ‘Adityanath’. He has been in the news for his polarizing statements. He has been accused of making hate speeches.
In 2015, he even declared that those who opposed ‘Surya Namaskar’ should prepared to leave India. In the same year, he led a “purification drive” to “re-convert” Christians to Hinduism.
In 2007, he staged a “non-violent dharna” during a Moharram procession in Gorakhpur. However, it was alleged that inflammatory speeches were made during the demonstrations and some of his followers allegedly set fire to a nearby mazar. Adityanath later broke a curefew and was jailed. Following his imprisonment, riots spread across Gorakhpur district.