Interview: I’m bound by party, but my son free to take his decisions - Hindustan Times
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Interview: I’m bound by party, but my son free to take his decisions

Apr 24, 2024 10:07 PM IST

In Samastipur Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, which goes to vote on May 13, children of two JD-U ministers in the state are pitted against each other. One is LJP (R) candidate Shambhavi Choudhary, daughter of Ashok Choudhary. The other is Congress candidate Sunny Hazari, son of Maheshwar Hazari.

Samastipur (reserved) Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar, which goes to vote on May 13, presents a peculiar fight this time, as children of two JD-U ministers in the Nitish Kumar government are pitted against each other. One is LJP (R) candidate Shambhavi Choudhary, daughter of Ashok Choudhary. The other is Congress candidate Sunny Hazari, son of Maheshwar Hazari, whose family has traditionally represented Samastipur district in both Assembly and Lok Sabha. Late Karpoori Thakur represented the seat in 1977. Late Ramvilas Paswan also represented the erstwhile Rosera (reserved) seat, which became part of Samastipur constituency later.

Maheshwar Hazari with Nitish Kumar. (HT FILE)
Maheshwar Hazari with Nitish Kumar. (HT FILE)

HT caught up with Maheshwar Hazari. Excerpts:

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You are a minister in the Nitish Kumar government. JD-U is part of the NDA. Then how did your son Sunny Hazari land in Congress?

My son is an adult and he is free to take his decisions. He has been working in the area and is popular. He has a family legacy in Samastipur politics running into generations and he is himself an engineer from NIT, Patna. He has taken his own decision. I have my own respect and following in the area, he is trying to create his own.

So, will the father campaign for his son in Samastipur, where JD-U minister Ashok Choudhary’s daughter Shambhavi Choudhary is making her electoral debut?

I am bound by the party line. I am among party’s star campaigners. As long as I am alive, I will be with Nitish Kumar. But my blessings will always be with my son. He will also benefit from my name and work in the area. I was also an MP from there, as was Sunny’s grandfather Ram Sevak Hazari. My grandfather Bilait Hazari was also a social worker. His brother Ram Jatan Paswan was CPI-MLA from Singhia four times. I have also been MLA four times since 2005 from Warisnagar and Kalyanpur. All this will benefit him.

But you were not with Shambhavi when she filed her nomination, though JD-U MP Ramnath Thakur, son of Karpoori Thakur, was there?

My cabinet colleague Ashok Choudhary ji called me on the day of her nomination, saying that water resources minister Vijay Choudhary wanted me to be there. But I was busy with party work in Madhepura. I did not even go for the nomination of my son, though thousands of people of the district were there. My party workers informed me that my son’s nomination was grand.

Wards of two ministers pitted against each other! Could this situation have been avoided in a party whose leader Nitish Kumar is against dynastic politics?

My son may have had his own political aspirations. He has been working in the area and has respect and following. But if there is encroachment on one’s territory, even the weakest don’t sit quiet. Samastipur has been the land of socialists. Late Kapoori Thakur represented this seat. People here are politically very conscious. They cannot allow money play or any outsider. They assess people working in their midst. In Samastipur, it is not easy for any leader to parachute and win.

Ashok Choudhary has been campaigning for Shambhavi and is hopeful that Samastipur will give ‘daughter’ a chance this time.

The people of Samastipur will ultimately decide. My father Ram Sevak Hazari was MLA six times and represented erstwhile Rosera (reserved) Lok Sabha seat in 1977. He was a close associate of Karpoori Thakur. It is the contribution to the area that people look for. I don’t know how people will view an outsider this time.

LJP-R chief Chirag Paswan has been attacking you as anti-Paswan. How do you see this?

I am surprised how he is bent upon destroying the rich legacy of late Ram Vilas Paswan, who worked for the poor and Dalits and always took his brothers along with him. He could not maintain that. It was my father Ram Sevak Hazari, who, along with Ram Jeevak Singh, brought late Ram Vilas Paswan into politics and he became the MLA for the first time in 1969 from Alauli. Chirag got into politics with a silver spoon and so he could not even hold on to his MPs. Pashupati Kumar Paras was also sidelined. Let’s see if he has workers left in his party.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Arun Kumar is Senior Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He has spent two-and-half decades covering Bihar, including politics, educational and social issues.

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