PATNA: Senior Congress leader Shakil Ahmed on Monday announced that he will be filing his nomination papers from Madhubani Lok Sabha seat, which he has represented twice and which has gone to Mahagathbandhan alliance partner Vikas Sheel Insan Party (VIP), a fledgeling outfit, which came into being barely six months ago.
He claimed that the party was not averse to his entering the fray on the seat. I will be filing my nomination papers from Madhubani on Tuesday, April 16. I have urged the party leadership to consider two alternatives.
One is a friendly fight on the Congress symbol. The other is that I contest as an Independent with the party's support, Ahmed said over the phone from Madhubani.
The party is not averse to my entering the fray. I have spoken to AICC in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil, who told me that my wish has been conveyed to Rahul Gandhi, who will take a call after due consideration.
I have pointed out to the party leadership that we are witnessing friendly fights in two constituencies one each in Bihar and Jharkhand where allies have put up candidates despite the Congress being in the fray, he said.
In Chatra (Jharkhand), the RJD has fielded its candidate though we have our nominee in the fray.
On the other hand in Supaul, our sitting MP Ranjit Ranjan is seeking re-election though a local RJD leader has also jumped into the contest with the support of the party.
We can have similar friendly fights in Madhubani where there is tremendous pressure on me from the people to contest, Ahmed, who had won the seat in 1998 and again in 2004, said.
The former Union minister had, however, lost the seat to BJPs Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav in 2009 and in the last Lok Sabha polls the seat went to the RJD, which fielded its senior leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui, who failed to wrest the seat from the BJP.
The son of Yadav, Ashok Yadav, is in the fray this time from the seat as the veteran MP has announced retirement from active politics.
Siddiqui has moved to Darbhanga, a seat for which the Congress had bargained hard as it wanted to field former test cricketer Kirti Azad, who was inducted into the party with much fanfare by Rahul Gandhi himself.
However, the claim of RJD the largest constituent of the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar ultimately prevailed and Congress had to contend with settling for Azad contesting from Dhanbad in Jharkhand, giving up Darbhanga, which he currently represents and had also won as a BJP candidate five years ago.
The VIP, founded and headed by Bollywood set designer-turned-politician Mukesh Sahni, has got three seats out of the 40 in Bihar and it has fielded former RJD leader Badrinath Purve as its candidate from Madhubani.
The Congress got nine constituencies as per the seat-sharing arrangements, while the RJD has 20 out of which it has forgone Ara in favor of the CPI(ML), which has returned the favor by announcing that the ultra-Left outfit would not field its candidate from Pataliputra, which would be contested by Lalu Prasads eldest daughter Misa Bharti.
Besides, Upendra Kushwahas RLSP is contesting five seats and Jitan Ram Manjhis HAM is fighting three.