The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sent shockwaves across the political circles by announcing its far-right leader from Poorvanchal - Mahanth Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
The announcement is being seen as a clear reiteration of the BJP's commitment to Hindutva.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Naresh Agarwal said that he expects Yogi Adityanath to change his "fiery brand" image and work towards the betterment of the state.
Earlier, television footage showed BJP workers garlanding and feeding candies to the Hindu hardliner who was draped in his iconic saffron-coloured robe. "I would like to thank the senior leaders for giving us this post", Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya told the media.
Adityanath's offensive quotable quotes are not hard to find and sure to be replayed routinely by BJP opponents, critics, and liberals in time to come. Contentious issues such as the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya, uniform civil code, ban on cow slaughter and the anti-conversion campaign topped his agenda. However, the Yogi will need to use all the resources at his command to carry various sections of people.
Modi's BJP won control of the state a week ago, earning the biggest majority there for any party since 1977, after the Prime Minister pitched himself as a man on the side of the poor.
The accession of Adityanath, the five-time MLA from Gorakhpur, can strengthen the BJP's "Hindutva" establishment in the state, but may provide enough fodder to the opposition to attack the saffron party on lines of "divisive politics".
The BJP legislators also endorsed the proposal for two Deputy Chief Ministers. The names of Union Ministers Manoj Sinha and Rajnath Singh were making the rounds as the next CM for the state. The move received a setback when Modi hand-picked Trivendra Singh Rawat to assume the charge as the head of government in adjoining Uttarakhand.
He has also demanded a central law to check the population growth of Muslims.
In the recently-concluded Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the party secured 312 seats in a 403-member house, while its allies Apna Dal (Soneylal) and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party got nine and four seats, respectively. The BJP leadership's decision has left the nation shocked and several BJP supporters are fumbling for right words, to say the least. "The government policies and resolutions have to be fulfilled on time".