A journey from Panchur to Politics!
Yogi Adityanath was born as Ajay Singh Bisht in a small village named Panchur in Uttarakhand. He completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from the Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in UP. At the age of 21, he renounced his family and became a disciple of Mahant Avaidyanath, the Head Priest of the Gorakhnath Temple and a Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur district. Soon Ajay was given the name ‘Yogi Adityanath’ and by 1994, he succeeded the Mahant of the Gorakhnath temple. 4 years later, in 1998, he was elected to the office of the Member of Lok Sabha from Gorakhpur district. From then on he has been elected repeatedly for 4 terms (1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections).
The Firebrand “Hindutva” Politician
Yogi Adityanath has had a controversial political career.
In the 90’s, he was involved with the movement to establish a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. In 2005, the “Hindu Yuva Vahini”, founded by Yogi Adityanath, was charged by the police for rioting in a town called Mau in Uttar Pradesh.
In the same year, at a town called Etah, the Yogi was heard giving a speech that said, “I will not stop till I turn UP and India into a Hindu Rashtra.” In 2006, Yogi Adityanath made a statement in Parliament during which he alleged that there had been a political conspiracy to kill him by the then Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav. A few years later during the 2009 election campaign, he was heard saying, “Wo agar 1 Hindu baalikaa ko le jaayenge to kam se kam 100 Muslim baalikaaon ko…” in reference to ‘Love Jihad’ (the alleged phenomenon wherein Muslim men try to convert Hindu women under the guise of love) .
He was also implicated in the Gorakhpur riots of 2007, but no action was taken against him.
As a Member of Parliament Yogi Adityanath has been profoundly active.
In the period from 1st June 2014 to 21st March 2017, Yogi Adityanath has maintained a Parliamentary attendance record of 76%. He has taken part in a total of 57 debates, compared to a national average of 46.3.
During these debates, he has spoken about issues like the spread of Encephalitis in the country, need to make river Aami in Eastern Uttar Pradesh pollution-free, need to have a Uniform Civil Code, problems being faced by UPSE students who are not proficient in English, need to establish an AIIMS like institute at Gorakhpur, the need to stop cow slaughter in the country, etc.
He has asked a total of 284 questions, against a national average of 180. These questions were on issues like the rise in crime against women and children, rise of Naxalism, trade deficit with China and rising debt of farmers in India.
He has also introduced 3 Private Member Bills (National average being 1.4), 2 of those were amendments to the GST Bill, while the third was to ban cow slaughter in India.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
On the 19th of March, 2017, Yogi Adityanath took oath to become the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, after a landslide election victory for the BJP. In his farewell speech to the Lok Sabha, he thanked the House hailing the leadership of Narender Modi and promised to run UP with the motto of ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’.
He then went on to speak about his work as the MP of Gorakhpur saying, “In past five years, there have been 403 incidents of communal flare ups in UP but not a single incident took place in Gorakhpur.” He promised to have the same effect across UP, as the Chief Minister.
In his 1st 3 days as the CM, Yogi Adityanath directed the police to initiate “Anti-Romeo” Squads (police teams patrolling near colleges, malls, parks and other public places) to make public space safe for women. He has also asked the police to chalk out a plan to implement a ban on cow slaughter in the state, having already banned pan masala and tobacco products in government offices.
Whatever you make of Yogi Adityanath, there’s no denying that interesting times are in store for the state of Uttar Pradesh, with him at the helm.