New Delhi: Amid high drama and a last-minute twist-in-the-tale, controversial Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath swept the rug from under the feet of all other contenders for the post of Chief Minister. The BJP Legislature Party on Saturday elected Adityanath as its leader and the next Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Here are 10 things to know about the man:
— Adityanath was born in a village in present-day Uttarakhand in 1972 as Ajay Singh to a Rajput family. He later took the name ‘Adityanath’.
— He has a degree in Science from Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University.
— He runs his own “youth wing” called the Hindu Yuva Vahini, which has been accused of inflaming communal passions. They were accused in the 2005 Mau riots.
— Adityanath is a five-time MP from the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency.
— He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1998 at the age of 26, becoming the youngest member of the 12th Lok Sabha.
— His spiritual Guru Mahant Avaidyanath passed away in 2014, passing on the reigns of the Gorakhnath Mutt to Adityanath.
— The MP 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 be prepared to leave India.
— In 2005, 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 curfew and was jailed. Following his imprisonment, riots spread across Gorakhpur district.
— The firebrand MP’s relationship with the party has been strained. In 2006, he staged a Virat Hindustan rally at the same time as the BJP National Executive meeting. He has been in conflict with the BJP leadership over ticket distribution several times. In 2010, he even defied the party whip to vote against the women’s reservation bill.