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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

AAP's Parveen Amanullah to take on Shatrughan Sinha in Patna Sahib

Rai Atul Krishna, Hindustan Times  Patna, March 19, 2014
First Published: 21:18 IST(19/3/2014) | Last Updated: 21:26 IST(19/3/2014)

The 54-year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Parveen Amanullah, who takes on BJP candidate and actor Shatrughan Sinha in Patna Sahib, is known for getting things done.

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While she served as Bihar social welfare minister, attendance at the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) centres across the state improved from "an abysmal 10% in 2010 to nearly 95% in 2012," she says.

Amanullah made headlines during her tenure of over three years for showing the door to several departmental secretaries, all senior IAS officers, and directors who were not performing up to par.

Last February, she marched on her own to a park in Patna's posh Pataliputra colony, where she lives, to get it cleared of encroachments by JD (U) MLA Anand Singh. The MLA, known for flexing his political muscles, removed the encroachments.

"People are no longer willing to tolerate corruption in high places, which is why I have entered the fray," Amanullah told HT after being named the AAP nominee for the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat on Wednesday.

"The citizens are upset that both Congress and BJP are playing into the hands of unscrupulous industrialists."

Before she became minister in 2010, Amanullah was a well-known activist. Her association with Arvind Kejriwal dates back to 2004, when she began working with his NGO called Parivartan in New Delhi. In the next two years, she took to RTI as a means to address the concerns of the common people.

In 2007, her activism for better facilities for patients at Patna Medical College and Hospital caused major embarrassment to the Nitish Kumar government in 2007.

Her husband and senior IAS officer Afzal Amanullah, who was then Bihar home secretary, had allegedly offered to resign from his post, saying he had no control over his wife's activism.

In 2007-08, she filed a PIL and won an order from the Patna high court against the Bihar government's decision to award infrastructure development projects to a company without going through the tender process.

Daughter of former diplomat and Kishanganj (Bihar) ex-MP Syed Shahabuddin, Amanullah also took to flood relief work after the Kosi river broke its banks and caused large-scale flooding in north Bihar in August 2008.

Despite taking on the Nitish Kumar government, she was named the JD (U) candidate from Sahebpur Kamal seat in north Bihar's Begusarai district in the 2010 assembly elections. Amanullah won.

She was in the news again last July when a child development project officer in Vaishali district filed an FIR against Amanullah for 'misbehaving' with her in the presence of anganwadi workers.

On February 4, Amanullah resigned as social welfare minister, citing "governance issues" and "lack of work satisfaction." Two days later, she joined AAP in New Delhi.

On Wednesday, Amanullah held a long meeting with party leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia in Delhi.

"Everyone who contests the polls expects to win," said Amanullah, when asked about her competition in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Polling in Bihar will be held in six phases, and Patna Sahib goes to polls on April 17.

Besides sitting MP Shatrughan Sinha, popularly known as Bihari Babu, Amanullah's opponents include former youth Congress activist Rajkumar Rajan as the Congress candidate and leading Bihar physician Dr Gopal Prasad Sinha fielded by the JD (U).


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