It's being called the saffron surprise by the media. Controversial Hindutva leader Yogi Adityanath's selection as the next Uttar Pradesh chief minister has caused a furore across the political spectrum. The 44-year-old sanyasi from Gorakhpur, who is the Mahant of the Gorakhnath math, is known to have several criminal cases against him.
Adityanath has been charged in the past with rioting, attempt to murder, criminal intimidation, unlawful assembly, trespassing on burial places and endangering life or personal safety of others. Adityanth was also detained for 11 days in 2007 for inciting violence in Gorakhpur.
Adityanath, who was born Ajay Singh, has had a meteoric rise ever since he was elected MP in 1998. His vitriolic speeches targeting minorities, liberals and the Opposition have gained him infamy as a rabble-rouser and a hardliner.
Here are some of the most outrageous statements made by the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh:
It is a well-known fact that Hindu Rashtra is a cherished dream of some Hindutva exrtremists. So, it comes as no surprise that Adityanath has often spoken on making India a Hindu majoritarian nation.
In 2016, Kairana came into national limelight as allegations of a Hindu exodus from this Muslim-majority town began trickling in. Adityanath was quick to jump in this political slug fest.
"Love Jihad" was a major poll plank for the saffron party during the 2014 by-polls in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Adityanath had been at the forefront of the caustic campaign. In an undated speech, he is reported to have told his audience to marry 100 Muslim women and bring them back to the Hindu-fold.
It is no secret that Hindutva hotheads have since long harboured anti-minority sentiments.
The head priest of the Gorakhnath math had blamed the Samajwadi Party of creating riots and blamed the Muslim community of being hand in glow with the then administration.
Shah Rukh Khan
During the intolerance debate, which began in 2015, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan had raised concerns over the apparent rise in intolerance across the country. Adityanath, however, slammed the actor.
Adityanath gained infamy in 2006 when he conducted a "purification drive" to convert Christians.
The interpretation of secularism has been a bone of contention among Hindutva leaders. This is what Adityanath feels about secularism in India.
In June 2015, the world observed the first "International Yoga Day". However, Adityanath had his own take on it, bringing in the anti-national debate in a seemingly harmless issue.
Updated Date: Mar 19, 2017 16:35 PM