History of The Candidate
Yogi Adityanath was born as Ajay Mohan Bisht on 5 June 1972 in the village of Panchur, in Pauri Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh (now in Uttarakhand).His father Anand Singh Bisht was a forest ranger. He was the second born in the family, among four brothers and three sisters. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Uttarakhand.
He left his home around the 1990s to join the Ayodhya Ram temple movement. Around that time, he also came under the influence of Mahant Avaidyanath, the chief priest of the Gorakhnath Math and became his disciple. Subsequently, he was given the name ‘Yogi Adityanath’ and designated as the successor of the Mahant Avaidyanath. While based in Gorakhpur after his initiation, Adityanath has often visited his ancestral village, establishing a school there in 1998.
Adityanath is also the Mahant or head priest of the Gorakhnath Math, a Hindu temple in Gorakhpur, a position he has held since the death of his spiritual “father”, Mahant Avaidyanath, in September 2014. He is also the founder of Hindu Yuva Vahini, a youth organization that has been involved in communal violence. He has an image as a right-wing populist Hindutva firebrand.
Scholar Christophe Jaffrelot states that Yogi Adityanath belongs to a specific tradition of Hindutva politics in Uttar Pradesh that can be traced back to the Mahant Digvijay Nath, who led the capture of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya for Hindus on 22 December 1949. Both Digvijay Nath and his successor, Mahant Avaidyanath, belonged to the Hindu Mahasabha and were elected to the Parliament on that party’s ticket. After the BJP and the Sangh Parivar joined the Ayodhya movement in the 1980s, the two strands of Hindu nationalism came together. Avaidyanath switched to the BJP in 1991, but nevertheless maintained significant autonomy. Yogi Adityanath was appointed Avaidyanath’s successor as the Mahant of Gorakhnath Math in 1994. Four years later, he was elected to the Lower House of the Indian Parliament (the Lok Sabha).
After his first electoral win, Adityanath started his own youth wing Hindu Yuva Vahini, which has been known for their activities in the eastern Uttar Pradesh and was instrumental in Adityanath’s meteoric rise. There have been recurrent tensions between Adityanath and the BJP leadership over the allocation of election tickets. However, the BJP has not let the tensions mount because Adityanath has served as a star campaigner for the party.
In 2006, he took up links between Nepali Maoists and Indian Leftist parties as key campaign issue and encouraged Madhesi leaders to oppose Maoism in Nepal. In 2008, his convoy was attacked en route to Azamgarh for an anti-terrorism rally. The attack left one person dead and at least six persons injured.
Member of Parliament
Adityanath was the youngest member of the 12th Lok Sabha at 26. He has been elected to the Parliament from Gorakhpur for five consecutive terms (in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections).
Adityanath’s attendance in Lok Sabha was 77% and he has asked 284 questions, participated in 56 debates and introduced three private member Bills in the 16th Lok Sabha.
Relations with the BJP
Adityanath has had strained relations with the BJP for more than a decade. He often derided and undermined the BJP, criticising its dilution of the Hindutva ideology. Having established his own independent power base in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, with the support of the Hindu Yuva Vahini and the Gorakhnath Math, he felt confident to be able to dictate terms to the BJP. When his voice was not heard, he revolted by fielding candidates against the official BJP candidates. The most prominent example was the fielding of Radha Mohan Das Agarwal from Gorakhpur on a Hindu Mahasabha ticket in 2002, who then defeated BJP Cabinet minister, Shiv Pratap Shukla by a wide margin. In 2007, Adityanath threatened to field 70 candidates for the state assembly against the BJP candidates. But he reached a compromise in the end. In 2009 Parliamentary elections, Adityanath was rumored to have campaigned against the BJP candidates who were then defeated.
Despite his periodic revolts, Yogi Adityanath has been kept in good humor by the RSS and the BJP leaders. The deputy prime minister L. K. Advani, the RSS chief Rajendra Singh and the VHP chief Ashok Singhal have visited him in Gorakhpur. During 22–24 December 2006, Adityanath organized a three-day Virat Hindu Mahasammelan at Gorakhpur at the same time as the BJP National Executive Meet in Lucknow. Despite the conflict, several RSS and VHP leaders attended the Mahasammelan, which issued a commitment to pursue the Hindutva goals despite the BJP’s claimed “abandonment” of them.
In March 2010, Adityanath was one of the several BJP MPs who defied the party whip on the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Parliament.
In 2018, he campaigned for BJP candidate Pratap Puriji Maharaj for Rajasthan state assembly election.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
He was a prominent campaigner for the BJP in the 2017 assembly elections in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He was appointed Chief Minister, of the state on Saturday, 18 March 2017 and sworn in the next day on 19 March, after the BJP won the assembly elections. The illegal slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh faced shutdowns from the administration after his becoming the Chief Minister. Yogi ordered the forming of anti-romeo squads. He imposed a blanket ban on cow-smuggling and stay on UPPSC results, exams and interviews till further order. He imposed a ban on tobacco, pan and gutka in government offices across the state and made the officials pledge to devote 100 hours every year for the Swachh Bharat Mission. More than 100 policemen were suspended by the Uttar Pradesh police.
After becoming the CM of UP, he kept around 36 ministries to himself including Home, Housing, Town and country planning department, Revenue, Food and Civil Supplies, Food Security and drug administration, Economics and statistics, Mines and Minerals, Flood control, stamp and registry, prison, general administration, secretariat administration, vigilance, personnel and appointment, information, institutional finance, planning, estate department, urban land, UP state reorganization committee, administration reforms, programme implementation, national integration, infrastructure, coordination, language, external aided project, Relief and Rehabilitation, Public Service Management, Rent Control, Consumer protection, weights and measures.
In his first cabinet meeting held on 4 April 2017, decision was taken to waive off loans of nearly 87 lakh small and marginal farmers of Uttar Pradesh, amounting to ₹363.59 billion (US$5.3 billion). For India’s Independence Day celebrations in 2017, his government singled-out Muslim religious schools to provide video evidence that their students had sung the Indian national anthem.
The New York Times relayed analysts’ estimations of Adityanath as a candidate for Prime Minister of India in 2024, provided he “delivers on some fronts”.
All the Promises Made by The Party
– Jammu & Kashmir – Article 370
The Manifesto read: We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state. We will take all steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents of the state. We will make all efforts to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits and we will provide financial assistance for the resettlement of refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb.
– Reinforcing Border Security
The manifesto read: We have completed building six integrated check-posts with another under construction to facilitate easier trade and travel from the neighboring countries. We will further ease the movement of goods and people by constructing 14 more integrated check-posts by 2024. After completion of all the proposed integrated check-posts, all trade movement with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan will be conducted through the integrated check-posts.
– Doubling farmers’ income
The manifesto read: At the very beginning of our current term, Prime Minister Modi embarked on a mission to double farmers’ income. We will make all efforts to achieve this goal by 2022.
The manifesto promised:
25 lakh crore investment in Agri-rural sector – We are committed to making an investment of Rs. 25 lakh crore to improve the productivity of the farm sector.
Interest-free Kisan Credit Card loans – We will provide sho-term new agriculture loans up to Rs. 1 lakh at a 0% interest rate for 1-5 years on the condition of prompt repayment of the principal amount.
– Citizenship Amendment Bill
The manifesto read: We are committed to the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Bill for the protection of individuals of religious minority communities from neighbouring countries escaping persecution. We will make all efforts to clarify the issues to the sections of population from the Northeastern states who have expressed apprehensions regarding the legislation. We reiterate our commitment to protect the linguistic, cultural and social identity of the people of Northheast. Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs escaping persecution from India’s neighbouring countries will be given citizenship in India.
– Zero-Tolerance Approach to Terrorism
The Manifesto read: Our security doctrine will be guided by our national security interest only. This is exemplified by the Surgical Strikes and the Air Strikes carried out recently. We will firmly continue our policy of Zero Tolerance’ against terrorism and extremism and will continue to follow our policy of giving a free hand to our security forces in combating terrorism.
– National Security
The manifesto read: Strengthening our Armed Forces – We will speed up the purchases of outstanding defense-related equipment and weapons. In order to equip the Armed Forces with modern equipment, we will continue to take focused steps to strengthen the strike capability of the Armed Forces.
– Welfare of Soldiers
The manifesto read: We have already demonstrated our commitment to the welfare of our veterans with the implementation of long-delayed OROP. To take this commitment forward, we promise to create a more effective framework for the resettlement of our Armed Forces veterans. Under this effort, the Armed Forces will start planning for the resettlement of soldiers three years before their retirement and in accordance with their preferences. This will include provision for skills training, so skills training, financial support for higher education, for housing and for staring an enterprise.
– Combating Infiltration
The manifesto read: There has been a huge change in the cultural and linguistic identity of some areas due to illegal immigration, resulting in an adverse impact on local people’s livelihood and employment. We will expeditiously complete the National Register of Citizens process in these areas on priority. In future we will implement the NRC in a phased manner in other pas of the country
– Ram Mandir
The Manifesto read: We reiterate our stand on Ram Mandir. We will explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution and all necessary efforts to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
– Uniform Civil Code
The Manifesto read – Article 44 of the Constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy. BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a Uniform Civil Code, which protects the rights of all women, and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft Uniform Civil Code, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonizing them with the modern times.