Senior Congress leader from Bihar and former union minister Shakeel Ahmed was on Sunday suspended from the party for contesting as an Independent from the Madhubani Lok Sabha seat which goes to polls on Monday.
The former minister, who had represented Madhubani in 1998 and 2004 Lok Sabha polls, had filed his nomination papers in two sets – as a Congress candidate and as an Independent.
The seat has fallen into the kitty of fledgling outfit Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) which is a constituent of the Opposition alliance besides Congress, RJD, RLSP and HAM.
Ahmed was a minister of State for Home Affairs in Manmohan Singh’s UPA government and was the party’s in charge for Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.
“Shakeel Ahmed, ex MP, has been suspended, with immediate effect, from the Congress party for contesting as an Independent candidate from the Madhubani Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar against the party’s decision,” the party said in a release.
Besides, Congress MLA Bhavana Jha, who represents Benipatti assembly segment falling under Madhubani, has been suspended “for anti-party activities”.
Jha had accompanied Ahmed when he filed his nomination papers last month and has since been claiming that she enjoyed the support of the district Congress. Jha is also campaigning for Dr Ahmad in the constituency.
Known for its famous paintings, Madhubani Lok Sabha seat is set for a triangular contest, probably for the first time after 1976.
BJP has fielded its sitting MP Hukumdev Narayan Yadav’s son Ashok Kumar. Hukumdev had defeated Abdul Bari Siddiqui of RJD by a margin of 20,535 votes in 2014.
Darbhanga-based businessman Badri Kumar Purbey of VIP is the RJD led Opposition alliance candidate.
While Purbey is a first-timer in the electoral arena, Ashok is a three-term MLA and Shakeel represented Madhubani in the Lok Sabha in 1998 and 2004 on a Congress ticket.
Though former RJD MP MAA Fatmi had filed his nomination papers as a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate, he later withdrew from the race. RJD had expelled Fatmi from the party for six years because of his “anti-party activities.”
The polling will be held in the fourth phase on May 6