UP assembly election 2017: Yogi Adityanath is BJP’s politician, priest and ‘agent provocateur’

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Lucknow, Jan 6: Clad in his trademark saffron-coloured robe, Bharatiya Janata Party's Yogi Adityanath, is known for his provocative speeches and mass following across Uttar Pradesh.

The priest-turned-politician never shies away from making controversial remarks, be it about Pakistan or Islam. The 44-year-old leader also rebelled against his party on several occasions, but because of the sway he holds over the 'Hindu' voters, the BJP can't ignore his 'leadership qualities.'

Yogi Adityanath

Know more about him...

Birth and education: He was born on June 5, 1972 in Garhwal, Uttarakhand, in a Rajput family. The founder of the Hindu Yuva Vahini - a social, cultural and right wing group for the youth - the BJP politician is an alumnus of HNB Garhwal University, Uttarakhand.

Political and religious career: Adityanath holds the record of being the youngest member of the 12th Lok Sabha at 26. He has won the Lok Sabha polls, as a candidate from the Gorakhpur constituency, five times - in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections.

Adityanath became the Mahant or head priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt, following the death of his political and spiritual guru, Mahant Avaidyanath, in September 2014.

Controversies: The 44-year-old leader has a long list of controversies to his credit. Right from comparing Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed during the intolerance debate in 2015 to asking people to leave India if they don't practice Surya Namaskar in 2015, the Hindu priest has been in the forefront in keeping the communal politics alive in the country.

Back in 2005, Adityanath allegedly converted around 1,800 Christians to Hinduism in Etah, UP, as a part of 'purification drive'. In 2007, he was arrested for allegedly making hate speech in Gorakhpur, which subsequently led to a riot in the state.

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