Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as UP chief minister

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Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand BJP leader known for his radical views on Muslims, was named on Saturday as the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, a surprise choice by the BJP to lead the country’s most populous state.

The party also named two deputy chief ministers, state BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya and Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma, a first in the state.

Yogi and his council of ministers will be sworn in on Sunday, a week after the BJP grabbed power in the state with a brute majority, raising prospects of the party’s re-election in the general elections in 2019.

Opposition parties criticized the selection of the Hindu hardliner, a 44-year-old five-time lawmaker who is also the head of the Gorakhnath temple, a centuries-old shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Political analysts said the massive mandate might have helped the party overcome caste concerns and carry forward its agenda of Hindutva and development.