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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: In Kishanganj, triangular contest between Congress, JD(U) and AIMIM

Of the total 14 contestants, there are 8 Muslim candidates who will contest from this constituency, which has a Muslim population percentage of 56% and is adjacent to Indo-Bangladesh and Indo-Nepal borders, crisscrossed with West Bengal.

constituency watch Updated: Apr 08, 2019 16:29 IST
Aditya Nath Jha
Aditya Nath Jha
Hindustan Times, Kishanganj
lok sabha elections 2019,kishanganj LS seat,LS polls in bihar
The main contest in Bihar’s Kishanganj LS seat is likely to be a triangular one between the Congress, JD(U) and AIMIM.(HT File )

The Muslim majority constituency of Kishanganj in Bihar has turned into a hotbed of political rivalries with nine political parties, national and regional, fielding their nominees for the Lok Sabha elections.

Five independent candidates are also in fray, making the political contest in Kishanganj a highly competitive one. Spread over six assembly segments, the Kishanganj Lok Sabha constituency has earned the nickname of being the ‘political capital of Seemanchal.’

Political parties which have fielded their nominees in the elections include- Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress, All India Majlis-e Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bahujan Mukti Morcha (BMM), Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Jharkhand Miukti Morcha (JMM) and Shiv Sena.

Of the total 14 contestants, there are 8 Muslim candidates who will contest from this constituency, which has a Muslim population percentage of 56% and is adjacent to Indo-Bangladesh and Indo-Nepal borders, crisscrossed with West Bengal.

Triangular contest

The main contest in the seat is likely to be a triangular one between the Congress, JD(U) and AIMIM.

Dr Md Javed, Congress MLA from Kishanganj has been given a ticket as a Congress nominee for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. JD(U)’S Mahmood Asraf, who contested from Kishanganj in 2009 but lost, is the party’s nominee this time.

AIMIM’S Bihar chief Akhtarul Iman, known in political circles as Owaisi of Bihar, is the party’s candidate for the seat. The party is desperate to fill the political vacuum in Kishanganj after the deaths Seemanchal’s two big Muslim leaders, RJD’S Mohammed Taslimuddin and Congress’s Mohammad Asrarul Haque.

Iman withdrew from the electoral arena in between electioneering in 2014, saying that for him winning election hardly mattered.

He was contesting on a JD(U) ticket after resigning from RJD and later left both RJD and JD(U) to join AIMIM. Iman who was once regarded as a true disciple of Taslimuddin, but later distanced from him and joined hands with AIMIM. After Taslimuddin’s death, he became the first to claim his political legacy in Seemanchal.

“Iman, a firebrand speaker, is very impressed by Owaisi and wants to play ‘safe politics’ by keeping away from both NDA and UPA,” a senior Congress leader said and declared him ‘a potential politician of Seemanchal’ after the death two-time parliamentarian Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi last year.

“Whether it is NDA or UPA, no leader and no party has worked for the progress of Seemanchal in general and Kishanganj in particular and I am sure people have made up their minds to reject both the political alliances here,” AIMIM nominee Akhatrul Iman said.

Both Congress and JD (U) confident of win

Dr Md Javed is confident of winning the seat, claiming it has been a strong bastion of the party.

“People want to bring Congress back to power and Seemanchal is going to contribute a lot to the kitty of the party.”

JD(U) nominee Syed Mahmood Asraf is pinning all hopes on Nitish Kumar’s charisma. “Not only Seemanchal, but whole Bihar has witnessed tremendous development under the regime of Nitish Kumar and people have made up their minds to give him wholehearted support in both the Lok Sabha elections and the forthcoming assembly elections.”

Congress’ legacy

Kishanganj constituency, which came into existence in 1957 has been a citadel of Congress party with seven wins.

No political party has won the seat thrice at a stretch. Md Tahir the first MP of Congress party who won the seat in 1957 and 1962 lost to PSP candidate Lakhan Lal Kapoor in 1967.

Jamilur Rahman of Congress won thrice in 1971, 1980 and 1984. In 1977, he was defeated by Halimuddin Ahmed of Bharatiya Lok Dal (BLD).

Md Maulana Asrarul Haque of Congress won the seat in 2009 and 2014. Md Taslimuddin also won the seat thrice, once on a Janata Dal ticket in 1996 and twice as an RJD candidate in 1998 and 2004 elections.

Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) had also won the seat once in 1999 when its nominee Syed Shahnawaz Hussain managed to win the seat, defeating Taslimuddin by a slender margin of 8,648 votes.

First Published: Apr 08, 2019 16:19 IST