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Politicians entry banned by Islamic seminary Deoband during Uttar Pradesh polls

LUCKNOW: Darul Uloom of Deoband, the largest seminary in the country, has banned the entry of politicians during the time of general election which started on January 4.

Maulana Ashraf Usmani, the spokesperson of the organization said, “we are a religious organization… no candidate can come to us for political reasons.” He added that the Rector Maulana Mufti Abdul Kasim Nomani will not meet Muslim leaders of any political party till the elections are on.

“We cannot allow politicians to use our alma mater for any kind of electoral mileage. We don’t have time for such people till the election are on,” the spokesperson said citing Maulana Nomani. In February 2016, the institution banned the entry of politicians and people with known political affiliations on its campus. “Students and teachers have been instructed not to participate in any political debates as well,” he said.

Previously the candidates used to visit Darul-Uloom Deoband in order to get a number of votes from the region.  The visitor’s list included stalwarts like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi. Sources said that political parties may make attempt to trigger a swing by kindling their religious sentiments in the backdrop of the Muzaffarnagar riots.

Nominations for the first phase is slated to begin on January 17. Fifteen districts of western UP, spanning 73 Assembly constituencies will go to polls in the first phase on February 11.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has started its UP Assembly poll campaign on Friday from Kairana in neighboring Shamli district.

Kairana is home to hundreds of refugee families who were displaced after the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. While the demographics of Kairana town, which has nearly 80% Muslims, is to the BJP’s disadvantage, the division of minority votes between the SP and the BSP may help the saffron party.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address a public rally soon. UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s campaign plan for Western UP which begins with Saharanpur ( the district where Darul-Uloom Deoband is located) is expected to be released in 3-4 days.