Lok Sabha Elections 2019 : No sign yet of Congress cracking whip on ‘rebel’ Shakeel…

The All India Congress Committee (AICC) seems in no hurry to act against Shakeel Ahmad , who has entered the poll fray as an Independent against the Grand Alliance (GA) nominee from Madhubani Lok Sabha constituency, which goes to polls on May 6.

Ahmad, a two-term MP and former union minister, had filed his nomination as an Independent after the seat went to the Mukesh Sahni-led Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) under the seat sharing pact of the Grand Alliance and the Congress declined him the party symbol.

The VIP has fielded Badri Nath Purbe against the BJP’s Ashok Yadav, son of party veteran and sitting MP Hukmdev Narain Yadav who has won the seat five times.

Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) president Madan Mohan Jha said the matter related to Ahmad’s defiance was with the party high command and appropriate action would be taken as per rules.

A section of the party leaders, however, said the party may go soft on Ahmad, who still continues to be Congress member.

They said the party could do little to seek active support for its nominee in Supaul, Ranjeet Ranjan, when the RJD seniors declined to join the campaigning.

“RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav did not visit Supaul, despite request made by Ranjan. Yadav also skipped sharing dais with Congress president Rahul Gandhi during his rally on April 20, which provided an opportunity to the rival parties to expose the cracks in the GA,” said a senior Congress leader, adding that Ahmad joining the fray was a lesser violation of alliance obligations compared to what was happening in Supaul.

Congress MLA from Benipatti and clsoe aide of Ahmad, Bhavna Jha, exuded confidence that the former union minister would wrest the seat from the BJP as Congress workers were actively campaigning form him. “Such is the wave in the constituency for Ahmad that RJD rebel M A A Fatmi offered to withdraw from the fray in his support,” she claimed.

Ahmad said he had pleaded with his party for its symbol, but that did not come in his way. “I was in the Congress, I am in the Congress and I will remain in the Congress,” said Ahmad, claiming he had almost foreseen his victory in the huge crowd at the time of his nomination. “I have not seen a sea of humanity for any leader at the time of filing of nomination papers, even though I have just stood as a witness to a number of elections,” said Ahmad.

To a query if Congress would act against him, he said, “I am an unemployed Congressman. However, I have decided to rejuvenate Congress’s old vote base, which would give a new dimension to the electoral politics in Bihar.”

VIP chief Mukesh Sahni was unavailable for his comments.

First Published:
Apr 24, 2019 11:39 IST

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