For the October-15 assembly election in Nuh, it is again a fight between two most prominent families of the Meo politics — the Hussains and the Ahmeds, and a Thakur who can emerge as a dark horse in case of division of Meo votes.
Transport minister and Congress candidate Aftab Ahmed, who is a third-generation politician of the family of Kabir Ahmed, is fighting a tough battle against Indian National Lok Dal’s Zakir Hussain, son of Tayyab Hussain who had remained minister in three states — Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Sanjay Singh, son of former minister Suraj Pal Singh, who is contesting the election on BJP ticket, is hoping to consolidate Hindu votes.
In 2009, Aftab won the seat, Sanjay was second and Zakir’s uncle remained third. In the 1996 election, these families were in a direct clash for Taoru seat. Sanjay’s father Suraj had won after Meo votes got divided. At that time, Zakir, who had fought on Congress ticket, was second while Aftab, who contested on All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) ticket, was third. A part of Taoru now falls in Nuh.
Zakir says he was chosen by INLD supremo OP Chautala to contest from Nuh as it is the capital of Mewat politics “like what Rewari is to Ahirs and Rohtak to Jats”. He is upbeat as he had got over 69,000 votes from Nuh during the Lok Sabha polls.
“I am raising the issue of development. Nearly 90% of villages still do not have clean drinking water... Transport department (headed by Aftab Ahmed) had recruited about 1,700 people but only 16 from Mewat got jobs. There is no clean drinking water in medical college, which they claim to have provided to Nuh,” says Zakir.
Aftab hits back, “The medical college OPD has a footfall of 2 lakh a year. Zakir did not get a single dispensary during his tenure.” The minister said within six months canal water will reach here and 1,000 recruitments had been made and “not 1,700”. The jobs were given as per capability of candidates, he added. “He promises that mining will start, but how could he do that when the Supreme Court has imposed a ban,” asks Aftab. Mewat is the most backward area of Haryana, located at the southern edge. It was made a district during Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s first tenure as CM. Nuh tehsil has the third worst literacy rate (55.4%) in the state. “Education has been our focus. A separate cadre of teachers has been created. Maximum schools, among all districts of Haryana, have been upgraded here. It is catching up with the rest of the state,” says Aftab, who was made minister in 2013.
“I haven’t seen such a huge response earlier,” says Zakir, as he was heading for Ranika and was late by three hours. People were, however, waiting. He exhorted workers to keep peace with Hindu brothers. “We Meos got converted to Islam. In 1947 also, there were no communal riots. There is no hate in people’s minds. The BJP tries to divide people. It is our responsibility to maintain peace... The INLD will never tie up with BJP.”
Zakir alleges that BJP has accepted defeat and has been asking people to vote for Aftab.
“This is a false propaganda. Sanjay Singh had earlier also fought elections and last time he was runner-up,” Aftab replies. Aftab was six hours late for a meeting at Naharka village, but people were waiting.
“We have changed the picture of Mewat and have provided you development whether it is roads, technical institutes like a polytechnic college, a medical college... Five years are not enough. We need to do more. I need your support for more schemes and development,” says Aftab at the public meeting.
Nuh has 60% Meo voters, which will go to both Zakir and Aftab. The fight is on to attract Hindu voters.