Lucknow, March 21: The caste of new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, who is a Thakur--an upper caste--has created a lot of political noise. After Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party for selecting a man from the powerful clan for the top post, the latter said Adityanath was 'caste-neutral' as he was a sanyasi (ascetic).
"The BJP gathered the votes of backward castes by advancing Keshav Prasad Maurya but after winning, they have crowned a Thakur," the BSP leader said. Mayawati alleged that crowning an upper cast with the chief minister's post of Uttar Pradesh is furthering the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's Hindutva agenda. The RSS is the ideological wing of the BJP.
"It is unfair to attribute a caste to him. He is a yogi (priest). People of all communities are celebrating his becoming the chief minister," said senior BJP leader and Union urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu.
In his Facebook post, Naidu defended the BJP's choice for the top post to rule the country's most populous state. "His life is full of service. He has declared that he will follow the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mantra 'sabka saath, sabka vikas (support of all, development for all)'. He is a holy man. Therefore, a caste doesn't stick to him. He is a man without a family and is above personal corruption", Naidu wrote in a Facebook post.
"Yogi Adityanath will lead UP on the path of development. He will prove sceptics wrong once and for all," Naidu added.
In the last few days, the BJP has received a lot of flak for choosing the 44-year-old firebrand leader, known for his hate speeches against the minority community, as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Adityanath himself is a priest and is the current mahant (head priest) of the Gorakhnath temple. The five-time BJP Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur was sworn in as the 21st chief minister of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.