2. He’s from an “upper” caste but serves as the head of a body which has numerous “lower” caste devotees, and that combined with his Hindutva and ascetic image, makes his appeal cut across caste divides in UP’s fractured polity.
3. BJP’s crushing victory in UP automatically means that the Ram Mandir crowd would be emboldened, and by making Adityanath CM, the party has ensured that he would have to act with a certain minimal responsibility, which was not guaranteed with him out of power.
4. He’s known to have been be at odds with the RSS and BJP leadership in the past, due to his individualistic streak. The fact that Modi and Shah are willing to empower such individuals shows a certain ideological commitment as well as organizational strength and confidence.
5. Adityanath belongs to the Hindu Mahasabha tradition, which has been partly at odds with the RSS/BJP tradition in the politics of the Hindu Right. His elevation signals a growing confluence of these streams, and the RSS’ ability to co-opt various strands of the Hindu Right (including such apparently benign ones as demonstrated by Indian ‘techies’ based abroad) within its broader fold.
6. Notwithstanding (4) and (5), the move to make Adityanath CM provides Modi and Shah an escape hatch if the party doesn’t do as well in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in UP, if the opposition does unite and the electoral arithmetic doesn’t favour the BJP. The appointment of a quiet figure like telecom minister Manoj Sinha would’ve kept the responsibility of delivering UP in 2019 solely upon Modi, but now Adityanath will have to shoulder part of the burden (and the blame, should things not go well).