Lok Sabha elections 2019: Rahul’s support for VIP nominee signals trouble for Shakeel
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday made it clear that the party had no sympathy for its ‘disgruntled’ leader Shakeel Ahmad, who will contest from Madhubani as an Independent. Madhubani will go to polls on May 6. As per the seat-sharing deal finalised by Grand Alliance partners, Madhubani was allotted to Vikassheel Insaan party (VIP) and Badrinath Purve is contesting from the seat as a GA nominee.
At an election meeting in Samastipur where Gandhi and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav shared stage, the Congress president declared Purve as the GA candidate from Madhubani and appealed to people to vote for him.
Ahmad, former All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary, recently filed his nomination as an Independent, disgruntled over him not being nominated from Madhubani. Congress is yet to take any action against him.
Sources in Congress said that the action against Ahmad appears to be imminent as Rahul Gandhi asked Congress workers to campaign for Purve. “Since Ahmad is a former AICC general secretary, any action against him can only be initiated after approval from the party’s core committee, which is due to meet in the next few days,” said a senior AICC leader.
A section of the party leaders however, said that the party was deliberately avoiding any harsh action against Ahmad, as such an action might antagonise the minority community in the election season and dent the Muslim vote bank. As many as 26 seats of 40 seats in Bihar are yet to go to the polls, in which the fate of five Congress candidates is to be decided.
“The party might be deferring a decision on Ahmad, as a prominent Muslim religious leader Wali Rahmani, had stepped in to make the RJD rebel MAA Fatmi withdraw from the fray in support of the Congress nominee, ” said a senior BPCC leader.
BPCC president Madan Mohan Jha said that the AICC chief had been apprised about Ahmad’s act to defy the party’s norms. Another senior leader said that as per the party’s constitution, any leader is stood expelled from the party the moment he/she decides to contest against an official nominee of the Congress or its allies.