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India’s BJP picks firebrand to head Uttar Pradesh state

NEW DELHI: Narendra Modi's right-wing party BJP Saturday picked a controversial firebrand leader to head India's most populous state, where it won a landslide victory last week. Bharatiya Janata Party won an absolute majority in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, home to 220 million people and seen as a bellwether of national politics, in a massive vote of confidence for the premier halfway into his first term. After an hours-long meeting with local BJP legislators on Saturday, senior party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu…

BJP lawmaker proposes renaming Deoband

NEW DELHI: The newly elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Brijesh Singh has proposed renaming the Deoband city in India's Muslim majority Saharanpur district, Indian media reported. The city is famous for housing the Darul Uloom Islamic school from where the Deobandi sect of Islam began. "The city was known as Devbrad during the Mahabharata era and the Pandava brothers spent their one year in incognito exile here," Singh told Economic Times, adding that that the city's name was changed after the Deoband religious…