The name Madhubani evokes the much-famed Mithila paintings aka “Madhubani paintings” but as the political temperature rises, art seems to have taken a back seat temporarily.
Around 200 km from the state capital
and situated on Bihar-Nepal border, the Madhubani Lok Sabha constituency almost
broke down the Congress-RJD alliance over seat-sharing in February. Patna
While the Congress mandarins were adamant on fielding two-term MP and Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad, the RJD was equally rigid that its candidate Abdul Bari Siddiqui, who lost to BJP’s Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav in 2009 by a slender margin of 10,000 votes, should be fielded from there.
To end the logjam and maintain the “secular unity”, Shakeel withdrew himself out of the race. Siddiqui is now Lalu’s candidate from Madhubani representing RJD-Congress-NCP combine.
It would have been a straight fight between the two arch rivals of 2009 LS polls – Siddiqui and Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav – till a turncoat from RJD, Ghulam Gaus, put a spanner and entered the fray as JD(U) candidate, thereby making the contest a triangular one.
Incidentally, a year ago, Siddiqui was the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and Gaus (then in the RJD) was Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council. But now, both the estranged colleagues have locked horns in Madhubani.
“Neither Ghulam Gaus nor Nitish’s JD(U) is a factor here. It’s a direct contest between BJP-led alliance and RJD-led alliance,” says Md Jameel, a local tailor, who has seen new equations emerging in the last two decades. “In 2014, the Muslims won’t repeat the mistake of 2009 when their vote got divided between Shakeel Ahmad (Congress) and Abdul Bari Siddiqui (RJD), who were contesting separately. This led the BJP nominee Hukumdeo win with a narrow margin,” he avers.
People seem to be politically very consciousness and it is natural. After all, of the 14 lakh voters, Muslims have as much sizeable presence as the Brahmins. But the minorities have got a bad name ever since Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) team from Mumbai, with the help of the then Madhubani SP Amrit Raj, arrested two Pakistan-trained militants, Kamal Ahmad Ansari and Khalid Sheikh from a remote village Basopatti in Jaynagar (Indo-Nepal border) in connection with Mumbai serial blasts.
The BJP is leaving no stone unturned in spreading the Modi wave.