Yogi Adityanath. Pic/PTI
Lucknow: The BJP on Saturday elected Gorakhpur Lok Sabha MP Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindutva leader, as the new Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in a meeting of the newly-elected 312 party legislators here, party state unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya said.
Maurya said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Legislature Party meeting also decided to have two deputy Chief Ministers -- Maurya himself and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma.
"Yogi Adityanath is the Chief Minister," Maurya told reporters, after the meeting in Lucknow.
"I am thankful for the decision. Dinesh Sharma and I are the deputy chief ministers," the BJP leader said, adding people's "welfare is the priority" for the new government in Uttar Pradesh.
Adityanath's name was proposed by BJP leader Suresh Khanna and supported by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.
"It was a consensus decision," said Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, who was also in the race for the post.
Known for his firebrand Hindutva image, the 44-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader comes from the Rajput community and is the head of the Gorakhnath Mutt in Gorakhpur, which has millions of followers from eastern UP and neighbouring Nepal.
He has been elected as the Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur uninterrupted from 1998.
A science graduate, Adityanath is popular for his fiery speeches among his supporters but has antagonised minorities by his statements like "Love Jihad", "Ghar Wapasi".
This is for the first time that the state will have two deputy chief ministers.
BJP sources told IANS that this has been done to balance caste aspirations since now there is a Rajput as chief minister and an MBC and a Brahmin face as deputy CMs.