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Anti-Christian politician wins leadership of India's biggest state

by Aaron James

Yogi Adityanath, who represents the Hindu nationalist BJP, won comprehensively in recent elections in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP won 325 of the 403 seats available and Adityanath was crowned chief minister of the state.

The Hindu priest, who has been elected for the BJP five times now, previously caused controversy by accusing the Catholic saint Mother Teresa of using her work with the poor in Calcutta as a cover to convert Indians.

He said last year at a rally: "Teresa was part of a conspiracy to Christianise India. When people are not able to provide medical aid to their sick or differently-abled children due to poverty, these people [missionaries] provide them facilities.

"During that period, they brainwash and make them Christians. It is a conspiracy against the Hindus."

The politician has also been criticised for his anti-Muslim sentiment, also saying at a rally: "If one Hindu girl marries a Muslim man, then we will take 100 Muslim girls in return. If they Muslims kill one Hindu man, then we will kill 100 Muslim men."

Around a fifth of Uttar Pradesh's 200 million people are Muslim.

Keshav Prasad Maurya, Yogi Adityanath's deputy in Uttar Pradesh state, told the Indian Express: "We consider all of UP population as one and we don't distinguish... We will work for the development of all without any bias against any community and religion."

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