Almost a week after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) marked a landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections by winning 324 seats, the party has started to give a saffron push in some parts of the state. Sparking a fresh row, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Deoband, Brijesh Singh, revealed that he will get his constituency name changed to ‘Dev Vrand’ as the town is more famous for its links to the Maharabharat than Darul Uloom Deoband, the Islamic school where the Deobandi Islamic movement has its roots.

Singh who defeated Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Majid Ali by 29,415 votes, said, “The name of the town – Deoband – is just a perception and it was always known as Dev Vrand only. Five Pandav’s and Mahabharat’s Rankhandi have worshipped here. Also, the famous village in this town names as Jarwala is actually Yakshawala and is the same place where ‘Yaksha’ has questioned Yudhisthir.”

Singh, who made the announcement during a ‘Holi Milan’ event, also claimed that a majority of Muslim women have voted for him as they are happy with the government’s stance on the triple talaq issue. The MLA also claimed that he would not have won by such a huge margin had they not voted for him. “Meri Muslim behne Modi ji ke sath hai aur woh bhi chahti hain ki teen Talaq band ho (my Muslim sisters are with Modi, they want triple talaq system to be abolished),” he added.

Deoband is among the five constituencies of Saharanpur district of Western Uttar Pradesh. Which has a population of 65 per cent Muslims, is a home to one of the earliest Islamic revivalist movement of India.

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.