Firebrand Hindutva leader Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as the Chief Minister of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh today. Cheered by tens of thousands of supporters at the Smriti Upvan, the 21st Chief Minister of the country's most populous state was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Ram Naik.
Phoolpur MP Keshav Prasad Maurya and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma were then sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers -- in that order. Twenty-two other cabinet ministers were sworn in. Among the ministers of state was Mohsin Raza, a BJP spokesperson and a former cricket player.
The election of the priest-turned politician Yogi Adityanath, the controversial mascot of hardline Hindutva, by 312 newly-elected MLAs took many by surprise as he was not considered a top choice for the post. The 44-year-old five-term MP from Gorakhpur was unanimously elected the BJP legislature party leader at a meeting of the newly elected MLAs on Saturday.
Have immense confidence that this new team will leave no stone unturned in making UP Uttam Pradesh.There will be record development: PM Modi pic.twitter.com/NWE1NZ9KhG— ANI (@ANI) March 19, 2017
* Nand Gopal Gupta Nandi takes oath as a cabinet minister of Uttar Pradesh government.
* Siddharth Nath Singh, Mukut Bihari Verma and Ashutosh Tandon sworn in as Cabinet Ministers in the Uttar Pradesh Government
Siddharth Nath Singh, Mukut Bihari Verma and Ashutosh Tandon sworn in as Cabinet Ministers in the Uttar Pradesh Government pic.twitter.com/wHxan9EwCV— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 19, 2017
* Dara Singh Chauhan, Dharmpal Singh, S P Singh Baghel take oath as cabinet ministers of Uttar Pradesh Govt
* Satyadev Pachauri, Ramapati Shastri & Jay Pratap Singh take oath as cabinet ministers of Uttar Pradesh government.
* Chetan Chauhan, Shrikant Sharma & Rajendra Pratap Singh take oath as cabinet ministers of Uttar Pradesh government.
* Om Prakash Rajbhar is the leader of BJP ally Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP).
* Om Prakash Rajbhar, Brajesh Pathak and Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary take oath as cabinet ministers of UP Govt, administered by Governor Ram Naik
Om Prakash Rajbhar, Brajesh Pathak and Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary take oath as cabinet ministers of UP Govt, administered by Governor Ram Naik pic.twitter.com/OTEE3yStEQ— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 19, 2017
* Satish Mahana, Rajesh Agarwal and Rita Bahuguna Joshi take oath as cabinet ministers in Uttar Pradesh government.
* Swami Prasad Maurya, Surya Pratap Shahi and Suresh Khanna take oath as cabinet ministers in UP govt
Lucknow: Dinesh Sharma takes oath as Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh pic.twitter.com/10H64qmGfL— ANI (@ANI) March 19, 2017
* Dr. Dinesh Sharma takes oath as Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
* Keshav Prasad Maurya takes oath as Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Keshav Prasad Maurya takes oath as Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. pic.twitter.com/buO161ZPCg— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 19, 2017
* Mohsin Raza will be sole Muslim face in Yogi's council of ministers.
* Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav present at Yogi Adityanath's swearing in ceremony
* Akhilesh Yadav arrives at Lucknow's Smriti Upvan to attend swearing in ceremony of YogiAdityanath as UP CM.
* 46 ministers will take oath with CM Yogi Adityanath and deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma
* Yogi is an honest man, nobody can raise a finger on his commitment. Also, winning from the same seat 5 times is not a small thing: Venkaiah Naidu
Uttar Pradesh CM designate Yogi Adityanath visits Smriti Upwan in Lucknow ahead of his oath taking ceremony today. pic.twitter.com/TLW3pZWgWN— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 19, 2017
Watching the ceremony were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, BJP veterans L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi and union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, a Lucknow MP.
Dressed in his characteristic saffron robes, Adityanath, after taking oath, walked over to and sought the blessings of Advani, Joshi as well as Rajnath Singh.
Outgoing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was present on the occasion and, before the event began, mingled freely with BJP leaders.
The BJP swept to power in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election, decimating the opposition and winning 312 of the 403 seats. Another 13 seats were won by allies.
It marked the return of the BJP to power in Uttar Pradesh after 14 long years.
Among the cabinet ministers are BJP leaders Surya Pratap Sahi, Suresh Khanna, Satish Mahana, Rajesh Agarwal, Dharampal Singh, S.P. Singh Baghel and Ramapati Shastri.
Defectors from other parties who won on BJP ticket were also accommodated: Swamy Prasad Maurya, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Dara Singh Chauhan, Brajesh Pathak and Nand Gopal Nandi.
Meanwhile, BJP leader and central cabinet minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said that Yogi Adityanath, a Gorakhpur MP, would lead Uttar Pradesh on the development path.
"I am confident Yogiji will soon become the face of development in Uttar Pradesh. He has been a fighter for people's cause. He has declared 'Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra' of the BJP manifesto is his agenda," Naidu wrote on Facebook.
"Unfortunate that some opponents, communalists are trying to portray him as a rubble-rouser and fringe personality. They should go through his parliamentary debates. Those reveal his seasoned thinking on various issues of governance," Naidu said.
Describing Yogi Adityanath as a politician committed to help the downtrodden, Naidu said it was "unfair" to attribute caste to him. "People of all communities are celebrating his appointment."
Referring to criminal charges against Yogi Adityanath, including attempt to murder and rioting, Naidu claimed the cases were political.