Yogi Adityanath is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the present Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. He is also the Mahant (Chief Priest) of the Gorakhnath Math, a Hindu temple in Gorakhpur. He is the founder of an organization, the Hindu Yuva Vahini; a youth organization, which has been controversial for its involvement in communal violence. Yogi Adityanath has a reputation of being a Hindutva Right-Wing Populist.
Yogi Adityanath was born on 5 June 1972 (age 47 years; as in 2019) in Panchur, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. His zodiac sign is Gemini. He did his schooling from Pauri and Rishikesh. He then went on to study from Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Uttarakhand and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics in 1992.
He left his home in the mid-1990s to join the Ayodhya Ram Mandir Movement. There he met Mahant Avaidyanath, the former Mahant (Chief Priest) of Goraknath Math, to whom he looked up to and was inspired by him. Mahant Avaidyanath once met Adityanath’s father and requested him that he has 3 more sons, and to kindly let Adityanath be his disciple; to which his father happily agreed. Adityanath renounced his family in 1993 and travelled to Gorakhpur to become the Mahant’s disciple and eventually, his favourite disciple of all.
He had his Diksha (Initiation ) in 1994 when Mahant Avaidyanath named him his successor and also the head priest of the Gorakhnath Math. As he was named the successor of Gorakhnath Math, it was among his duties to manage many schools and colleges, which were run by a hospital.
Height: 5′ 4″
Weight: 70 kg
Eye Colour: Black
Yogi Adityanath was born in a Kshatriya family. His parents had named him Ajay, and his real name is Ajay Mohan Bisht. After he had his Diksha with Mahant Avaidyanath, he was given the name Yogi Adityanath. His father, Anand Singh Bisht, is a retired forest ranger and his mother, Savitri Devi, is a homemaker. He is the second born in his family, among four brothers and three sisters. Her sister, Shashi (Eldest of the 3 sisters), runs a tea shop in Uttarakhand. She states that she is happy in the hills and does not wish to relocate. The whole family still lives in their village and do not visit Yogi or move to Lucknow as they know he’s busy.
His youngest brother, Shailendra Mohan, is a Subedar in the Garhwal Scouts Unit and is posted near India-China Line of Actual Control.
In 1996, he had his first experience in politics when he was handed the responsibility of managing the election campaign of Mahant Avaidyanath. In 1998, when Mahant Avaidyanath retired, he named Adityanath as the nominee from the Gorakhpur seat. Yogi contested and won the Lok Sabha elections from Gorakhpur and at the age of 26 and was the youngest Member of Parliament in the 12th Lok Sabha. After his first electoral win, he started his own Youth Wing, the Hindu Yuva Vahini, which was quite controversial and established an image of Yogi Adityanath as a Right-Wing Populist Hindutva Firebrand.
Thereafter, Yogi won the Lok Sabha elections consecutively for 5 times, from 1998 to 2014. As an MP, he was included as a member in several committees over the years, such as Committee on Food, Civil Supplies, Department of Sugar and Edible Oils, Consultive Committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, Committee on External Affairs and many more.
After the BJP won the Assembly Elections of Uttar Pradesh with a landslide victory, Yogi Adityanath was announced as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on 18 March 2017. He was sworn in the next day on 19 March 2017.
- In 2005, he led a religion conversion drive; in which he converted several people from different religions into Hinduism. In one such purification drive, he reportedly converted 1800 Muslims to Hinduism in Etah, Uttar Pradesh.
- In 2007, a Hindu child died in the Hindu-Muslim clash during the festival of Muharram. After the riots ended, Yogi Adityanath visited the site, where the child had died and also gave a hate speech. After his speech, police arrested Yogi and a few of his followers; which caused tensions and violence all over Gorakhpur. Even though Yogi was released a fortnight later, around 10 people lost their lives. He stated-
If they (Muslims) kill one of our Hindu brothers, we will kill 10 of them. If they can burn our homes and shops, what’s stopping us from doing the same”
- In 2015, when International Yoga Day was initiated and made compulsory, a lot of people and minority groups in India said they’ll be taking part in Yoga Day but will not perform Surya Namaskar as it opposes their religious sentiments. Yogi Adityanath replied to this by saying-
The people opposing ‘Surya Namaskar’ should drown themselves in the ocean. Lord Shankar was the biggest Yogi who started Yoga, and those who want to avoid Yoga and Lord Shankar can leave Hindustan”
- In 2015, when Shah Rukh Khan gave a statement regarding intolerance in India, Yogi gave a statement in the Parliament, comparing him with Pakistan based terrorist Hafiz Saeed-
There is no difference between the language of Shah Rukh Khan and Hafeez Saeed. There is a conspiracy going on in India for poisoning the atmosphere of the country and Shah Rukh Khan has also become a part of it”
- In 2016, he stirred up a major controversy, with his remark against Muslims. He stated-
If the Muslim population continues to increase at the same rate, there will be a situation of population imbalance in India”
- On 20 June 2016, in a religious meeting in Basti, he said-
Mother Teresa was part of the conspiracy to Christianise India. Hindus were targeted in the name of doing service and then converted”
- On 15 April 2019, The Election Commission of India (ECI) imposed a 72-hour ban from campaigning on Yogi Adityanath. This ban was imposed for violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) just days after being warned by the ECI for his remark about the Indian Army, calling it as Modi’s Army. This time he gave a statement in retaliation to Mayawati’s statement that-
If the Congress, BSP and SP have faith in Ali, then we also have faith in Bajrang Bali”
- He was interested in studies since he was a little kid. When he was in college and used to visit his home during holidays, he used to motivate his siblings to study.
- In 1993, he left his house and renounced all worldly pleasures when he joined Mahant Avaidyanath as his disciple. He was given the name Yogi Adityanath after he became a monk.
- Yogi considered Mahant Avaidyanath as his spiritual leader, and when Adityanath was tasked with handling his political campaign, he put the Hindutva agenda in the forefront.
- On 14 September 2014, he was appointed as the Mahant (Chief Priest) of the Gorakhnath Temple, after the death of Mahant Avaidyanath.
- Yogi has a reputation as the firebrand Hindutva face of the BJP. He has given many controversial statements and hate speeches against Muslims and is widely known for them.
- In Gorakhnath Math, he has set up a Yogi’s Janta Darbar (Yogi’s Courtroom); in which he resolves the local issues of people from Gorakhpur and also of the people from nearby districts. Interestingly, a lot of Muslims line up too for getting their problems resolved and everyone who comes to the Janta Darbar never returns without a solution.
- Yogi is an avid animal lover, there is a Gaushala in the Gorakhnath Math and whenever he is in Gorakhpur, every morning he spends time with them and feeds them; other priests at the temple also claim that Yogi knows the names of all the cows present there.