Wednesday 24 May 2017

Hindu hardliner sworn in as leader of India's most populous state

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, front right, Yogi Adityanath, centre in saffron robes, and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah (Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, front right, Yogi Adityanath, centre in saffron robes, and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah (Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP)

A hardline Hindu religious leader has been sworn in as the chief minister of India's most populous state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of India's ruling party attended a ceremony in the Uttar Pradesh state capital of Lucknow, where Yogi Adityanath took the oath of office.

Adityanath, 44, is a five-time member of parliament who has offended many in the country with his polarising statements attacking the Muslim community.

He has won the parliamentary seat from Gorakhpur district in Uttar Pradesh since 1998. He is also the head priest of a temple in Gorakhpur.

Two deputy chief ministers and 47 other ministers were also sworn in at the ceremony, which came a week after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party won a landslide victory in state assembly elections.

Adityanath's anti-Muslim rhetoric has raised concerns among Uttar Pradesh's Muslims, who form nearly a fifth of the state's population.

On Sunday, Adityanath tried to reassure Uttar Pradesh citizens that his top priorities were good governance and development of the state, among the poorest in India.

AP

Press Association

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