Modi Picks Hindu Nationalist to Lead India’s Most Populous State

Promotion of Yogi Adityanath is seen representing the rise of Hindu power

 .. Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed a hard-line Hindu nationalist politician to lead India’s most-populous state over the weekend, a surprise move that marks a swing toward contentious religious politics by a leader who had stuck largely to a development-focused agenda.Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu priest and parliamentarian for nearly 20 years, is known for his divisive and incendiary speeches targeting Muslims.

.. Mr. Adityanath will serve a five-year term as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, a state where nearly 20% of the residents, or 40 million people, are Muslims and where religious tensions easily and frequently flare.

.. Mr. Adityanath’s promotion.. represents the rise of a muscular, Hindu India and a chance to correct what they see as years of official policy going too far to accommodate India’s Muslim minority.

.. “It signifies a new reading on the BJP’s part that public opinion will now accept what was considered politically imprudent not so long ago.”

.. Mr. Adityanath is among the strongest voices in the BJP pushing for the construction of a temple in a place in Uttar Pradesh where, in the 1990s, a Hindu mob destroyed a 16th century mosque

.. He campaigns against so-called love jihad, which he describes as an “international conspiracy” by Muslims to kidnap or lure Hindu women to marry and convert them.

He has exhorted Hindus to respond to attacks on members of their community with tenfold violence.

.. his choice for chief minister harks back to the Hindu nationalist roots of his party, which arose out of a nine-decades-old movement to establish India as a Hindu nation.

.. Mr. Adityanath built a support base in Uttar Pradesh by projecting India’s 80% Hindu majority as victimized and shortchanged by his political rivals, who he accuses of a pro-Muslim bias