Why BJP winning Hindu-dominated Deoband seat is not remarkable

The seat has been electing a Hindu MLA for long by the virtue of being a Hindu-dominated constituency.

 |  3-minute read |   15-03-2017
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The euphoria over BJP's landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will take a long, long time to settle down.

Ecstatic over the great show put up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a section of the media is gushing over the BJP win in "Muslim-dominated Deoband" seat.

Of course, Deoband town in western Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district has its own importance — the region is home ground of one of the earliest Islamic revivalist movements in India. The fatwas issued by the Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom Deoband, also make headlines at regular intervals.

But all that does not make Deoband a Muslim-dominated town.

Let's have a look at Election Commission data.

According to EC data, Deoband assembly constituency has 2,92,273 registered voters. While 30 per cent of the voters belong to the Schedule Caste, 27 per cent are Muslims. Brahmins, Thakurs and Gurjars are other dominant castes of the constituency with a share of 6 per cent, 8 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

This time around, BJP's Brijesh Kumar got more than 1 lakh votes and won the seat. While BSP's Majid Ali came in second place with more than 72,000 votes and Mavia Ali of SP got 55,000 votes.

muslim_031517031908.jpg Deoband has almost made a habit of electing a Hindu MLA for long by the virtue of being a Hindu-dominated constituency.

So, the victory is being seen more as a Hindu candidate's win over two Muslim contestants in "Muslim-dominated" Deoband.

Analysts are going ahead and claiming that Muslims have voted for the BJP and Deoband is a "shining example of BJP's new-found acceptability in Muslim community".

There is nothing wrong if a minority community chooses to vote for the BJP but this seat cannot be a standard example for the acid test.

Deoband has more than 2 lakh Hindu voters and BJP got just more than 1 lakh votes, that too, when two Muslims were fighting each other.

If we conclude that a major chunk of around 1 lakh Muslims voted for the BJP, then we must also concede that not many Hindus voted for BJP in Deoband.

If the party, which didn't give a single ticket to Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, believes that more Muslims voted for it than Hindus in Deoband, then we don't have anything to say.

What is worth mentioning here is that Deoband has been electing a Hindu MLA for long.

In 2012, Rajendra Singh Rana of SP was elected from here. In 2004, Manoj Choudhari of BSP, in 2002 Rajendra Singh Rana of BSP and in 1996 Sukhbir Singh Pundir of BJP won from this seat.

Deoband has almost made a habit of electing a Hindu MLA for long by the virtue of being a Hindu-dominated constituency.

Also read: Uttar Pradesh elections victory doesn't mean Modi is winning 2019

Writer

Piyush Babele Piyush Babele @babelepiyush

Special Correspondent with India Today. Covered agrarian crisis and rural India for a decade.

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