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Growth, not religion, is my priority: Yogi Adityanath

20 March 2017, 03:15 | Kevin Scott

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Right after being sworn in as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath asked his Cabinet ministers to submit details of their assets in the next 15 days.

The choice as Uttar Pradesh chief minister of Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu ascetic with a history of agitation against minority Muslims, stunned observers who said it marked a departure from the platform of development for all on which Modi rose to national power in 2014.

Bharatiya Janata Party under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi bagged more than 300 seats in the recently held Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections.

Four women - Gulabo Devi, Archana Pandey, Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Swati Singh - are in the government.

It was an important day for the BJP. "There will be record development", tweeted Modi, who shared the dais with the new CM.

At his oath-taking in Lucknow, cries of "Har Har Yogi" competed with the standard "Har Har Modi" as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of Union ministers and other dignitaries looked on. "UP awaits transformation and this BJP Government will bring that transformation come what may", Yogi said.

Addressing his first press conference after assuming office, the CM said, "We will fulfill all the promises we have made to the people of the state".

After his swearing-in yesterday, the new chief minister pledged that his government "will work for all sections of the society without any discrimination".

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"We want to assure the people of UP that our government will take the state on the path of development and prosperity and would do everything that it takes to do so", the 44-year-old said.

"After consultation with other senior leaders and elected legislators Venkaiah Naiduji announced the names of (state BJP President Keshav Prasad) Mauryaji and (Lucknow Mayor Dr Dinesh) Sharmaji", Singh said.

The party has given ministerial berths to representatives of sections and regions of the state which voted for it and allies who helped get votes.

There was widespread shock and surprise when Yogi Adityanath, a long-standing BJP member of parliament from eastern UP, who always dresses in saffron priest's robes, was unexpectedly chosen by the party's leaders following the party's landslide state election victory a week ago.

The anointment of Yogi Adityanath to the top post in the state has left the political pundits across the board spellbound and confused.

The Congress' Mani Shankar Aiyar said, "It is clear that his aim is Hindutva, to make a Hindu nation". Mohsin Raza - minister of state - is the only Muslim face in the council of ministers.

Adityanath, whose name originally was Ajay Singh Bisht, has led campaigns to convert (or re-convert) Christians and Muslims to Hinduism, and to encourage "love jihad" where Hindus marry Muslims to convert them.



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