- The BJP won a landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh in 2017
- "No one thought Yogi would be Chief Minister," Amit Shah said on Sunday
- He was speaking at ground breaking ceremony for investment projects
The BJP chief and union minister Amit Shah on Sunday explained the choice of Yogi Adityanath for the top job in Uttar Pradesh. The selection of the priest-politician, seen as a right-wing poster boy for the Chief Minister's post in the huge, politically crucial state had baffled many, especially since he did not have any administrative experience.
At a function in Lucknow on Sunday where the Chief Minister was also present, the BJP chief referred to the matter.
"No one thought Yogi would be Chief Minister. Many people called me, saying 'Yogi has never even run a municipality, why are you making him CM'. It's true, had not run even a municipality. He was a temple head," Amit Shah said at the ground breaking ceremony for investment projects worth Rs 65,000 crores in UP.
"People asked me why we were giving him the reins of such a big state. But Mr Modi and I decided to make him Chief Minister. He is work oriented and has made up for his lack of experience with his work ethic," the BJP chief added.
The BJP won a landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh in 2017 - the verdict was seen a mandate for the development promise of PM Modi. With the party not fielding any Chief Ministerial candidate ahead of the election, there was much interest in the party's pick for the post.
The name of Yogi Adityanath, who is also the head priest of the Gorakhnath temple in eastern UP's Gorakhpur, began to do the rounds soon after.
Sources said the BJP's ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, had vetoed the party's top choice for Chief Minister -- union telecom minister Manoj Sinha. Sources said Yogi Adityanath was chosen as he was assessed to be the most popular leader among the cadre.