Lok Sabha election 2019: 2 RJD, Congress leaders to contest as independents
The Grand Alliance in Bihar received a setback Tuesday with a prominent leader each of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress giving up their party positions and deciding to contest the Lok Sabha election from Madhubani as independent candidates.
Four-time Darbhanga MP, Mohammed Ali Ashraf Fatmi, of the RJD and former Union minister and Congress’s senior spokesperson, Shakeel Ahmad, will both be running for election to the prestigious seat that has been allotted to the Vikassheel Insaan Party, making its electoral debut.
Ahmad gave up his post as the party’s national spokesperson and filed nomination papers on Tuesday. Fatmi, who quit all the positions in the RJD, said he would file his papers as an independent for the same seat on Thursday.
“Contesting elections is the democratic right of a politician...But if any leader goes against the party’s decisions, he would be liable for disciplinary action...,” said RJD’s leader of the opposition in the state assembly, Tejashwi Yadav.
Ahmad, after filing his nomination papers, said he hoped the Congress leadership would be considerate to him and allow him to fight the election on the party symbol... “I have tendered my resignation as the party’s senior spokesperson so that my comments are not attributed to the Congress,” he said. Fatmi said: “I have resigned from all the positions... though I haven’t resigned from party yet. I shall wait for a positive response...till April 18...they do not give me the party symbol, I will contest as an independent.” Fatmi also said he would give a “second thought” to his decision to contest Madhubani only if the Congress allowed Ahmad to run for the seat on the party’s symbol.
Ahmad, who represented Madhubani twice in 1998 and 2004, said his decision to contest the LS election as an independent would not end his long association with the party. Addressing a large gathering of supporters, Ahmad said the GA had fielded a weak candidate in Madhubani. He pointed out that an RJD-backed candidate was contesting against the Congress’s Ranjit Ranjan in Supaul. “If RJD can support a candidate against a Congress candidate, then why can’t the Congress do the same in Madhubani?”Ashok Yadav, son of senior BJP sitting MP Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav, is the BJP candidate in Madhubani. Badri Purve is the VIP nominee. On his reaction to Ahmad filing his nomination as an independent candidate, Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee president, Madan Mohan Jha, said he was out of the state and unaware about the latest developments in Madhubani.