MADHUBANI/SITAMARHI: Politics in Madhubani — known as the capital of Bihar’s folk arts and culture and home to the renowned Madhubani painting — seems to have taken a curious turn with former UPA minister Shakeel Ahmad contesting as an independent.
Madhubani LS constituency, which will vote on May 6, will witness a triangular contest for the first time after 1976. After Begusarai, Madhubani was a CPI bastion, but it has changed courtesy caste politics. With a sizeable minority population and Yadav voters, BJP may find it tough to retain the seat.
“Ahmad, who has represented the seat twice in 1998 and 2004 on a Congress ticket, joining the fray may upset the applecart for NDA and the Mahagathbandhan,” said Narendra Kumar Rai, owner of an oil mill.
Mohammad Suleiman, the 55-year-old owner of a Madhubani-based bakery shop, said, “There is anger against the sitting BJP MP Humkumdeo Narayan Yadav, who never bothered to develop his constituency despite getting five chances. He has been attacking the RJD for promoting dynastic politics. Now, he has managed a ticket for his son Ashok Yadav.”
Ahmad said the fight is between candidates of “people’s and party’s choice”. “I am in the contest as an independent but I am the people’s candidate.”
Nakul Gupta, owner of a confectionary at Madhubani, supported Suleiman’s view and said, “Neta ka sara principle khatam ho jata hai apne pariwar ke liy (All principles of a leader end when mater pertains to his family).”
“Ashok Kumar may be attempting to make his debut but don’t jump to any conclusion without given him a chance to prove himself,” said Janardan Rai, a school teacher, buying sweets from Gupta’s shop.
The Vikasheel Insan Party , a member of the alliance, has fielded Darbhanga businessman Badrinath Purbey.
“The result will be in favour of a candidate who manages to polarise voters on cast lines in Haralkhi, Benipati, Bisfi, Madhubani, Keoti and Jule,” said Niranjan Paswan of Benipati.
The situation in Sitamarhi is different than Madhubani. “Sitamarhi, the birthplace of Sita, is witnessing a fierce fight between JD(U) Sunil Kumar Pintu and RJD’s Arjun Rai,” Bipin Prasad, a deed writer at the Sitamarhi court said.
Ramesh Kumar Jha, a social activist in the district, rued that Sitamarhi has not witnessed development on the tourism front. “It is the birthplace of Sita and has vast potential to be developed as a major religious tourist spot… polls come and go but promises made remain unfulfilled,” he said.
Rashmi Kumari, doing graduation from a college in Sitamarhi, waiting for a bus to Muzaffarpur said Sitamarhi has been neglected. “We hope good sense prevails among the leaders of Sitamarhi and they work to develop the religious spots. We will vote for development,” she said.