Lucknow, March 20: Till Saturday, very few could have imagined that a priest-turned-politician known for his firebrand politics, mostly attacking the Muslims, will be the chief minister of the country's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. Today, it is a reality as Yogi Adityanath took the charge as the Uttar Pradesh CM at a big bash hosted by the Bharatiya Janata Party in Lucknow on Sunday.
Now, his supporters and fellow Hindu priests feel that the 44-year-old Uttar Pradesh CM is all set to become India's next prime minister. The Hindutva poster boy, who is the current mahant (head priest) of the Gorakhnath Mutt, is also a five-time BJP Member of Parliament from the Gorakhpur constituency.
"Today he is chief minister of the state; in future he would be leader of the country," Mahant Manvendra told The Telegraph.
An aide to Adityanath added, "The prime minister may have chosen Yogiji as chief minister so he (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) can sail through the 2019 general election by continuing the polarisation of votes, but Yogiji may grow bigger than Modi by 2024."
His father Anand Singh Bisht, who is a resident of a small hamlet Panchur in Uttarakhand, also hopes that one day his son would become the country's top leader. "He'll now be serving India's most important state but soon he'll be at the Centre, serving the entire country," Bisht told reporters.
Although his family watched Adityanath's swearing-in ceremony on television in its modest home in Panchur village, hundreds of sadhus wearing saffron robe attended the mega-function where PM Modi was the chief guest. During the oath-taking ceremony, his supporters chanted 'Har Har Yogi'.
Several top leaders from across the country attended the swearing-in at the Kanshi Ram Smriti Upvan in Lucknow. Apart from Modi, there were BJP national president Amit Shah, party veteran LK Advani, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP ally N Chandrababu Naidu, Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and over a dozen Union ministers. However, no one from the Bahujan Samaj Party attended the function.