BHAGALPUR/PATNA: BJP national spokesman Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, who has been fielded in a by-election to the legislative council in Bihar, on Sunday stated that he was looking forward to working for "the party in the state".
The former Union minister also debunked murmurs in some quarters that the development was tantamount to loss of status for the BJPs Muslim face in Bihar and asserted "I would have worked for the party gladly even if it had decided to make me a district unit chief".
Hussain, who has formerly represented Bhagalpur in the Lok Sabha for two consecutive terms, was addressing party workers near here, before leaving for Patna where he is scheduled to file his nomination papers on Monday.
"I had recently told Amit Shah that I will remain devoted to the party even if I were not given any major responsibility for the next 10 years. It is the dedication of the workers that has helped BJP emerge as a force to reckon with from Kashmir to Kanyakumari", he said.
"As far as Bhagalpur is concerned, the affection I have received from its people is greater than any outward accomplishment. I would have been happy even if the party had chosen to make me the president of the district unit here", he added.
According to party sources, Hussain has been fielded from the seat vacated by former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi who was recently elected to the Rajya Sabha.
By-poll is also scheduled for another seat vacated by BJP leader and former minister Binod Narayan Jha who has got elected to the assembly.
The party has decided to field Mukesh Sahni, state minister and founding president of Vikassheel Insaan Party, from the seat.
The term of the seat offered to Hussain expires in 2024.
He was first elected from Bhagalpur in 2006 in a by- election necessitated by the resignation of Modi who returned to state politics upon the NDA achieving power in Bihar.
He retained the seat in 2009 Lok Sabha polls but lost it five years later.
The seat went to Chief Minister Nitish Kumars JD(U) in the 2019 general elections.
A diploma holder in engineering, Hussain had made his Lok Sabha debut in 1999 from Kishanganj at a young age of 31.
He ended up being inducted into the council of ministers headed by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Meanwhile, Mukesh Sahni, a former Bollywood set designer who took the political plunge ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, floating his own outfit, disclosed on his Twitter handle that he has been telephonically informed about his candidature by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
"I am thankful to Amit Shah, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and all NDA leaders for this honour. I will file my nomination papers tomorrow, on January 18," said Sahni.
Elections to the two council seats in Bihar are scheduled for January 28 and Monday is the last date for filing of nominations.
Both the seats belong to the BJP and the NDA with adequate number of MLAs will not have any problem in ensuring their victory.
Sahni had jumped ship, exiting the Grand Alliance and crossing over to the BJP-led coalition, just ahead of the assembly elections last year.
His fledgling party was accommodated with 11 seats given out by the BJP from its own quota of 121 and it succeeded in winning four though Sahni himself lost.