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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Shakeel Ahmad may jump into Madhubani fray for ‘friendly fight’

VIP has fielded Badri Purbe, son of a former MLA from Darbhanga, from Madhubani. BJP has already announced Ashok Yadav, son of sitting MP Hukumdev Narayan Yadav, as the NDA nominee.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 11, 2019 00:14 IST
Lok Sabha elections 2019: Shakeel Ahmad may jump into Madhubani fray for ‘friendly fight’
Lok Sabha elections 2019: Shakeel Ahmad may jump into Madhubani fray for ‘friendly fight’(HT File Photo)
         

In a blow to the Grand Alliance (GA), former union minister and Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmad is set to contest from Madhubani Lok sabha seat, which has been allotted to the Mukesh Sahni-led Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) as part of the GA’s seat sharing deal.

VIP has fielded Badri Purbe, son of a former MLA from Darbhanga, from Madhubani. BJP has already announced Ashok Yadav, son of sitting MP Hukumdev Narayan Yadav, as the NDA nominee.

On Wednesday, Ahmad, also former president of Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC), bought the nomination paper. His close aide and Benipatti MLA Bhavna Jha said he was certain to file his nomination, be it as a Congress candidate or an Independent, as per wishes party workers.

“We have urged the party high command to allow Ahmad to fight the seat in a friendly fight, as the RJD did in Chatra of Jharkhand,” Jha said.

She said she would be accompanying Ahmad during the filing of his nomination on April 16 even if he decided to contest as an Independent. “I don’t care about the party’s action. It does not matter if I remain an MLA or not,” she said, when pointed out that the Congress might take action against her for breach of party’s discipline by supporting a party rebel.

With Ahmad going ahead, clamour in the BPCC for a friendly fight on a couple of more seats allotted to the allies of the GA has also gone up.

Congress MLA from Riga, Amit Kumar Tunna, has requested AICC president Rahul Gandhi to allow him to contest from Sheohar Lok Sabha seat, where as Delhi-based journalist Syed Faisal Ali is pitted against BJP’s sitting MP Rama Devi as the RJD nominee.

“Besides a non-political background, Ali hails from Gaya and he would not be able to connect to local people,” said a senior Congress leader.

In a letter to Gandhi, Tunna claimed he would wrest the seat for the Congress with a huge margin.

Riga assembly segment is part of Sheohar Lok Sabha seat, though it lies in the administrative jurisdiction of Sitamarhi district.

“I have worked relentlessly in Sheohar for more than a year and party workers have been pressuring me, as they are confident of my victory,” Tunna said, adding that he did not require any financial support from the party to fight the election, as people of the constituency had pledged their support for the Congress.

AICC in-charge for Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil declined comment on the party leaders’ plan to engage in friendly fights, saying nothing could be ruled out at this juncture, as the Congress was keen on winning the maximum seats in Bihar.

Former RJD MLA Rajan Tiwari, who is not a member of the Congress, has also written a letter to Rahul Gandhi to allow him to contest from Bettiah, a seat that went to the RLSP kitty under the seat adjustment among the GA constituents.

Justifying the Congress leaders’ aspiration to fight from additional seats, a senior leader said the Congress could also be following the RJD’s path.

“RJD has fielded sand trader Subhash Yadav from Chatra, which was actually allotted to the Congress under the seat-sharing pact of the GA. Party veteran Manoj Yadav has filed his paper as the Congress candidate on the seat,” said Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee (JPCC) spokesman Alok Dubey, adding that the Congress was allotted seven out of 14 seats in Jharkhand, while four seats were left for the JMM, two for the JVM-P and one (Palamu) for the RJD.

In Bihar, Congress has been allotted nine out of 40 seats to contest, while the RJD has decided to field its nominee on 19 seats, RLSP on five, HAM-S and VIP three each. One seat, Ara, has been left for the CPI(ML).

Straining at
the leash

Sheohar: Congress MLA from Riga, Amit Kumar Tunna, has requested Rahul Gandhi to allow him to contest from Sheohar, where Delhi-based journalist Syed Faisal Ali is RJD nominee, pitted against BJP’s sitting MP Rama Devi.

Bettiah: Former RJD MLA Rajan Tiwari, who is not a member of the Congress, has written to Rahul Gandhi to allow him to contest as Cong candidate from Bettiah, a seat that went to RLSP under GA deal. BJP has fielded sitting MP Sanjay Jaiswal.

First Published: Apr 11, 2019 00:14 IST

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