Come March 19, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will set a record of being the first chief minister from the BJP to complete three straight years in office in the state.
Adityanath (47) was sworn in as the 21st chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He assumed office on March 19, 2017, says the official website of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
He is the fourth chief minister from the saffron party to head the northern state.
Before Adityanath, Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta and Rajnath Singh of the BJP had served as Uttar Pradesh chief ministers.
Kalyan Singh had held the high office twice. He became the chief minister of UP for the first time on June 24, 1991, and held the post till December 6, 1992. His second stint was from September 21, 1997, to November 12, 1999.
He was succeeded by Ram Prakash Gupta, who was the UP chief minister from November 12, 1999, to October 28, 2000.
Rajnath Singh occupied the office from October 28, 2000, to March 8, 2002.
"Yogi Adityanath is from a humble background. He does not belong to the category of 'viraasat ki siaasat' (politics of inheritance). He achieved this position through sheer hard work," UP BJP media coordinator Rakesh Tripathi told PTI.
"Everyone has seen his spirit of waging a war against Japanese Encephalitis in Gorakhpur, and today he has waged a similar war against various illnesses of Uttar Pradesh-- be it crime or corruption. He is credited for the successful organisation of Kumbh in Prayagraj, Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, Investor Summit and the recently concluded Defence Expo," he said.
The opposition Congress, however, pooh-poohed the three-year rule of the priest-turned-politician.
"It has been three years of blatant lies. Farmers and youths of the state have been duped. 'Jungle raaj' is prevailing in Uttar Pradesh. There is no let-up in crime against women in the state," UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said.
In the 2017 UP assembly elections, the BJP won 312 of the 403 seats, while Apna Dal (Sonelal) got nine seats and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) won four seats.
Later, the Om Prakash Rajbhar-led SBSP parted ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Almost a year before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP suffered shock defeats in the by-polls.
The saffron party lost the Lok Sabha by-polls in Gorakhpur (vacated by Adityanath), Phulpur (vacated by UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya) and Kairana (necessitated by the death of sitting BJP MP Hukum Singh) and Noorpur assembly seat (necessitated by the death of BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan).
Not taking the defeat to his heart, Adityanath chose to learn from the "mistakes".
He had said the by-poll loss was a "lesson to the BJP" and cited "over-confidence" and the "inability to gauge the understanding between SP and BSP" as prime reasons behind the party's defeat.
"When the election candidates were declared, the SP, BSP and Congress were not together... they had not joined hands then. But suddenly in the middle of the election, the SP and the BSP forged an electoral understanding," he had told the media at his residence.
"The over-confidence and inability to gauge the electoral understanding between the SP and BSP led to the defeat," he had said.
The tables turned in 2019 and the BJP won Kairana, Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats in the Lok Sabha elections that year.
The BJP bagged 62 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2019, while its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) got two seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) bagged 10 seats followed by Samajwadi Party (SP), which won five seats. Congress won one seat.
Adityanath, currently a member of the UP Legislative Council, has been a five-time MP from Gorakhpur (1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014).
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh on four occasions. Her longest tenure was from May 13, 2007, to March 15, 2012.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav assumed the office of UP chief minister on March 15, 2012, and held it till March 19, 2017.
Among the Congress stalwarts who held the office for a significantly long time were Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant (the first chief minister of UP) and Sampoornananda.
Pant's tenure was from January 26, 1950, to May 20, 1952, and from May 20, 1952, to December 27, 1954, says the website of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
Before becoming the UP chief minister, Pant was the Premier from July 17, 1937, to November 2, 1939, and from April 1, 1946, to January 25, 1950, it says.
Similarly, Sampoornananda was the UP chief minister from December 28, 1954, to April 9, 1957, and then from April 10, 1957, to December 6, 1960, the website adds.