5 June 1972
Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University
Anand Singh Bisht, Savitri Devi
Mahendra Singh Bisht, Shailendra Mohan, Shashi Singh, Manvendra Mohan
Ajay Singh Bisht, well-known as Yogi Aadityanath, is the 22nd and current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. He has been the Chief Minister since 19 March 2017. Also a Hindu monk, he is the mahant or head priest of the Gorakhnath Math, which is a Hindu temple in Gorakhpur. He took up this position as a priest after the death of his spiritual “father”, Mahant Aavidyanath. He is also the founder of Hindu Yuva Vahini, a Hindu youth religious group.
He claimed the seat as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on 26 March 2017, which was after BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) won the 2017 State Assembly elections, wherein he was a prominent campaigner. Since 1998, for five consecutive terms, he has been a Member of Parliament from the Gorakhpur constituency.
Childhood And Education
Ajay Singh Bisht was born in a village of Panchur, in Pauri Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh (now located in Uttarakhand) on 5 June 1972. He was the second child in a family of four brothers and three sisters. His father, Anand Singh Bisht, was a forest ranger.
He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Uttarakhand.
In the 1990s, Yoginath left his home to join the Ayodhya Ram temple movement, which involved leaders of BJP, VHP, and RSS. It led to the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in 1992. Around this time, he became a disciple of Mahant Avaidyanath, the chief of the Gorakhnath Math at that time. After his initiation, he has often visited his ancestral village establishing a school there in 1998.
After the death of Mahant Aavidyanth, he took up his position as priest of Gorakhnath Math. A few days later he was made Peethadhishwar (Head Seer) of the Math amid traditional rituals of the Nath sect.
Political Career Development
A French political scientist and Indologist who specializes in South Asia, India, and Pakistan, Scholar Christophe Jaffrelot, had stated that Yogi Adityanath belongs to a specific Hindutva politics tradition in Uttar Pradesh. This tradition dates back to Mahant Digvijay Nath, who carried out the capture of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya for Hindus in December 1949. Both Digvijay and his successor Avaidhyanath came from the Hindu Mahasabha and were elected to the Parliament by party’s ticket. After the joining of BJP and Sangh Parivar in the Ayodhya movement in the 1980s, the two pillars of Hindu nationalism came together. Four years after Adityanath was designated Avaidyanath’s successor, he was elected to the Lower House of the Indian Parliament.
Following his first electoral win, he founded a Hindu youth organization, namely Hindu Yuva Vahini. It grew popular in eastern Uttar Pradesh and played a major role in the rise of Adityanath. Its goal as stated by the organization itself is “the integration of and mutual good faith within the massive Hindu society, through the complete abolishment of the differentiation between touchable-untouchable and high-low promote the harmonious development of society.” Some other activities they became known for are cow protection, opposing Love Jihad, and performing Ghar Wapsi. Love Jihad is an islamophobic practice developed by Hindutva ideology. It states that Muslim men target Hindu women for conversion to Islam through love, seduction, feigning, kidnapping, etc. Many recurring conflicts regarding the allocation of election tickets took place between BJP and Adityanath. These conflicts were then resolved by BJP as Adityanath served as a star campaigner for the party.
In 2006, he networked with Nepali Maoists and Indian Leftist parties and encouraged Madhesi leaders to oppose Maoism in Nepal. In 2008, his convoy was attacked causing one death and six injured while on route to Azamgarh for the anti-terrorism rally.
Yogi Adityanath As A Member Of The Parliament
- Adityanath, the youngest member of the 12th Lok Sabha at 26, was elected to the Parliament from Gorakhpur for five consecutive terms. He was a very active member as he had an attendance of 77%, he asked 284 questions, participated in 56 debates, and introduced three private member Bills in the 16th Lok Sabha.
BJP And Adityanath
Adityanath has had complicated relations with BJP for over a decade. He criticized BJP for its dilution of the Hindutva ideology. Being a strong campaigner and having founded his power base in eastern Uttar Pradesh, he felt confident in speaking out and voicing his judgments and terms to BJP. When his words were not heard, he would revolt by fielding candidates opposing BJP candidates. The most well-known example is the fielding of Radha Mohan Das Agarwal from Gorakhpur. He defeated BJP Cabinet Minister, Shiv Pratap Shukla by a wide margin. In 2007, Adityanath took up the courage to field 70 candidates against BJP for the state assembly. But in the end, a compromise was made. In the 2009 Parliamentary elections, Adityanath was assumed to have campaigned against BJP candidates who were then defeated. Despite his actions, protests, and revolts, RSS and BJP leaders kept him in good books. The deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani, the RSS chief Rajendra Singh, and the VHP chief Ashok Singhal had visited him in Gorakhpur. In December of 2006, Adityanath organized a three-day Virat Hindu Mahasammelan, at the same time as the BJP National Executive Meet in Lucknow. Although there was a conflict, RSS and BJP leaders attended the Mahasammelan, which issued a commitment to pursue the Hindutva goals and the claim of its “abandonment” by BJP leaders.
In March 2010, Adityanath was one of the BJP MPs who opposed the whip on the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament. In 2018, he campaigned for BJP candidate Pratap Purji Maharaj for the Rajasthan state assembly election.
Chief Minister Of Uttar Pradesh
- As mentioned prior, Adityanath was a significant campaigner for the BJP in the 2017 assembly elections. The state government had appointed him as Chief Minister on 18 March 2017; he took an oath the very next day after the BJP won the elections.
- After becoming the CM of UP, he kept around 36 ministries under his control. In his first cabinet meeting, the decided to forgive loans of nearly 87 lakh for small and marginal farmers of Uttar Pradesh. This amounts to 4.8 billion USD. For India’s Independence Day celebration, his government distinguished Muslim religious schools by demanding video evidence of the students singing the Indian national anthem.
Law And Order
Adityanath ordered the formation of quasi-vigilante anti-“Romeo” squads. These groups consist of young brigands who take up local matters in their own hands, sometimes with the blessings of local authorities. He imposed a blanket ban on the smuggling of cows and a stay on UPPSC civil service exam results, exams, and interviews until further order. He ordered a ban on gutka, tobacco, and paan in government offices across the state. He demanded officials to pledge to devote 100 hours every year for the Swachh Bharat Mission, which is now one of the most well-known and widespread movements in India. Over 100 “black sheep” policemen were suspended by Uttar Pradesh police.
Since 2017 chief minister Adityanath has ordered the closing of many slaughterhouses. As a direct consequence, the tanneries that sourced raw leather from the slaughterhouses were impacted. Several tanneries were ordered to be shut down. The tannery industry was worth 500,000 crores in 2017. The industry gave employment to more than 10 lakh people. Since 2018, through executive orders, CM Adityanath had closed around 200 tanneries out of a total of over 400 that were active in Kanpur.
Infrastructure Development And Modernisation
- In July 2018, Adityanath with the assistance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea, inaugurated the world’s largest Smartphone manufacturing factory in Noida. His government was credited for making 50 megawatts of power and a 22 km long electricity line in a record four months for the Samsung mobile plant. In November 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government along with the Ministry of Defense laid the base of the Defense Industrial Corridor project in Jhansi. Yogi Adityanath held consultations with private firms to increase private investment in the defense corridor project. The New York Times presented predictions of analysts’ of Adityanath as a candidate for Prime Minister of India in 2024, provided he “delivers on some fronts”. In August 2020, India Today’s “Mood of the Nation” survey showed Adityanath as the best-performing chief minister in India.
Ordinance And Bills
In September 2020, Adityanath suggested to his government to devise a strategy to prevent “religious conversions in the name of love”, and even considered passing an ordinance for the same if needed. On 31 October, Adityanath announced that a Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance 2020 to curb “Love Jihad” would be passed by his government.
The Uttar Pradesh state cabinet cleared Adityanath’s ordinance on 24 November 2020. In July 2021, Adityanath introduced the UP population control draft bill 2021-2030. On World Population Day, the chief minister revealed the policy on reducing the population growth in the next few years. There were several benefits spoken based on the laid single child and two-child policies. He stated that the state population policy focused on efforts to increase the availability of contraceptives under the Family Planning Programme and provide a proper system for safe abortion. This policy received rigorous criticism from other parties. It was said that this policy focuses on the coming general elections in the state. The opposition Congress in the state has called it a “political agenda” and the Samajwadi Party said it is “murder of democracy”.
He was the third chief minister to complete a full 5-year term as the chief minister of the state. The first is the Mayawati of BSP and the second Akhilesh Yadav belonging to the Samajwadi Party.
Second Term (2022-Present)
- On 10 March 2022, with the announcement of the legislative assembly results, the BJP-led NDA alliance secured 273 seats with incumbent Chief Minister Yogi getting his second term. This was a mark in history, being the first chief minister to return to power after a five-year term in office. BJP is also the party to return to power consecutively after 37 years.
In January of 2007, Adityanath with other BJP leaders came together to mourn the death of a man, killed due to religious violence. His supporters were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and violating prohibitory orders. This arrest led to violence, several of the Mumbai-bound Mumbai-Gorakhpur Godan Express were burnt, allegedly by the Hindu Yuva Vahini activists, this organization was founded by Yogi Adityanath, hence creating controversy and chaos. The very next day, the District Magistrate and the police chief were transferred and replaced.
In 2011, the documentary film Saffron War- Radicalization of Hinduism falsely portrayed Yogi Adityanath as one creating disharmony in Uttar Pradesh via hate speech. In 2017, his government ordered the withdrawal of around 20,000 politically motivated cases. Including those against him and other politicians. This caused controversy and confusion as to why Adityanath would ignore and avoid these cases.
- On 3 January 2016, after the terrorist attack on an Indian air force base in Pathankot, allegedly conducted by Pakistani terrorists, Adityanth compared Pakistan to Satan. This caused a lot of hate, chaos, and unrest in the community. Adityanath has praised US President Donald Trump’s decision to ban citizens of 7 Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. He believed that such measures should be adopted by India as well to avoid terrorism.
In 2010, when he opposed the Women’s Reservation Bill, Adityanath said that the reservation does not affect women’s domestic responsibilities such as childcare. He added that if men develop feminine traits they become gods, but if women adopt manly traits they become demons. This caused chaos and unrest in public.
In an undated video that surfaced on YouTube during August 2014, while speaking on religious conversions due to inter-religious marriages, Adityanath said, “if they take one Hindu girl, we will take 100 Muslim girls.” In the very same video, he states, “if they kill one Hindu, there will be 100 that we” and pauses, as the crowd shouts, “kill”.
In February 2015, while speaking at Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s ‘Virat Hindu Sammelan’, Adityanath commented, “if given a chance, we will install statues of Goddess Gauri, Ganesh, and Nandi in every mosque.”
In June 2015, Adityanth, while speaking regarding Surya Namaskara and Yoga, said that those who want to avoid Yoga can leave Hindustan. He ‘requested’ those who see communalism in the Sun God to “drown them in the sea” or live in a dark room for the rest of their life.
During the intolerance debate in the Indian media in late 2015, Adityanath commented that actor Shah Rukh Khan was using the same language as Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed.
Books On And By Yogi Adityanath
- Although many controversies, chaos, and unrest have surfaced in the community during several instances under the Yogi government, even though Adityanath had caused many revolts and oppositions, he is considered to be very well respected. People look up to him and consider his decisions and suggestions as wise. He has caused so much development in the state and country. Many bills have been passed by him which has helped in numerous ways. Thus, being such an inspiration, some authors have taken the chance to write a book on his life, childhood, political career, and achievements.
Books On Yogi Adityanath
Gupta, Shantanu. The Monk Who Became Chief Minister: The Definitive Biography Of Yogi Adityanath.
Kumar, Pravin. Yogi Adityanath: The Rise of a Saffron Socialist.
Adhikari, Shehkar. Yogi Adityanath: Blend of Spiritualism and Political Realism.
Pradhan, Sharat. Yogi Adityanath: Religion, Politics, and Power: The Untold Story.
Books By Yogi Adityanath
Hathayoga svarupa evam sadhana, Gorakhpur: Sri Gorakshanatha Mandira, 2007.
Adityanath, Yogi. Rajayoga: Svarupa Evam Sadhana.
Top 13 Interesting Facts On Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath requests resignation from Governor Anandiben Patel at Raj Bhavan in Lucknow as his first tenure ends.
Yogi Adityanath is not only famous in BJP but is also very well-known with a massive following in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Yogi Adityanath’s initial name is Ajay Singh Bisht.
Yogi Adityanath, at age 21, renounced his family to become a disciple of Adityanath, who was the head priest of Gorakhnath Math at that time.
In 1996, Yogi Adityanath began election campaigning for Mahant Adityanath. In 1998, Mahant Adityanath retired from active politics and declared Yogi Adityanath as his heir and nominee for the next Lok Sabha polls.
In 1998, at age 26, Yogi Adityanath became the youngest member of the 16th Lok Sabha.
In 2005, a religious purification drive was led by Yogi Adityanath where more than 5,000 people were converted to Hinduism in UP’s Etah. This drive is known as ‘Ghar Wapasi’.
He faced charges due to attempts in murder to defiling places of worship, rioting with deadly weapons, and criminal intimidation.
In 2010, he opposed the Women’s, Reservation Bill.
In the year 2002 Yogi Adityanath established Hindu Yuva Vahini, which is a youth organization with many goals.
Yogi Adityanath has earned his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from HNB Garhwal University
Yogi has played the “Vrihad Hindu” card in an attempt to widen his popularity by reaching out to the Dalit community and not just the Hindu voters.
Yogi Adityanath was elected to the Parliament for five consecutive years from Gorakhpur, i.e., 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014 elections.