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Legislator wants constituency renamed 

Agra: A newly elected member of the legislative assembly of Uttar Pradesh plans to move the house to get his constituency renamed in a bid to delink its ties with a progressive Islamic movement.

Brijesh Singh, who represents Deoband, wants the constituency renamed Dev Vrand. His argument: the place is more famous for its links to the Hindu epic of Mahabharat than Darul Uloom Deoband, the Islamic school where the Deobandi Islamic movement has its roots.

Singh is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Indian people’s party), which is considered the political arm of right-wing Hindu groups.

“Deoband is just a perception as this town is always famous as Dev Vrand only,” Singh told The Indian Express. According to him, Rankhandi mentioned in the epic is in the constituency. Five Pandas had worshipped in Dev Vrand. “Even the village named as Jarwala is actually Yakshawala and is the same place where ‘Yaksha’ has questioned Yudhisthir,” he claims.

Deoband, with 65 percent Muslim population, is one of the five constituencies in Saharanpur district of northern Uttar Pradesh.

The the region is home to one of the earliest Islamic revivalist movements in India.

Singh defeated Majid Ali of Bahujan Samaj Party with 29,415 votes majority.

The legislator said he would not have won with such a majority if Muslim women had not voted for him. The Muslim women are happy with the BJP-led federal government’s stance on the triple talaqu issue.

The Deobandi movement began a decade after the 1857 revolt against the British colonial rule in India.

Founded by Islamic scholar Shah Waliullah Dehlawi, the movement was based on the rationale that the downfall of the Mughal empire was a punishment meted out to the Muslim community for having strayed from the true path of Islam.

The religious seminary created by the founders of the movement, Darul Uloom Deoband, located in Deoband, propagates Islamic science and jurisprudence.

Since 2002, the Deoband constituency has been the stronghold of either the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Before that, the BJP had come to power twice, first in the 1993 elections and then in 1996. Earlier, Deoband was a stronghold of the Congress since the first elections in 1951.

In 2017, BJP’s emphatic victory can be pinned down to the division of Muslim votes between the SP and the BSP, resulting in the saffron party’s victory.

(Source: Indian Express)

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