In all certainties, Yogi Adityanath, a five-time MP, can't be termed as an overnight sensation in Uttar Pradesh politics. The fiery Hindutva mascot has been in active politics since 1998 and enjoys an unprecedented following not only in Gorakhpur, but across the state.
Clad in his trademark saffron-coloured robe, Aditayanth has been seeking greater power and is expected to give a push to BJP's Hindutva-wrapped agenda of development with the emergence of a separate powerbase for the party in eastern UP.
Initially, Adityanath was not being considered as the front-runner in the race for chief minister's post. But his political supporters and religious followers were praying day and night for his elevation as UP CM soon after the BJP stormed to power with a thumping mandate.
The staunch followers of the priest-turned-politician prayed for the divine intervention for his success.
They organised havans, offered special prayers that he be made state chief minister even when he himself never showed his eagerness to hold the coveted post.
They also held a protest demonstration to press for their demand that the Yogi should be made the CM candidate in the assembly elections.
His supporters believe that Adityanath, who is a strong votary of construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, drove BJP's Hindutva campaign single-handedly in eastern UP.
Adityanath has rebelled against his party on several occasions, but because of the sway he holds over the 'Hindu' voters, the BJP apparently could not ignore his 'leadership qualities.'
(With inputs from PTI)