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BJP sent Yogi, Nadda to Darbhanga to take on Congress candidate it calls ‘Jinnah sympathiser’

Congress’s Maskoor Usmani is contesting from Jale seat in Darbhanga, where Yogi Adityanath & JP Nadda campaigned in last 2 days, claiming credit for Ram Mandir, Article 370 removal.

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Darbhanga: The BJP deployed two of its big faces — Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and party president J.P. Nadda — to campaign in the Jale seat of Bihar’s Darbhanga district where Congress candidate Maskoor Usmani, referred by the BJP as ‘Jinnah sympathiser’, is contesting.

Usmani was the AMU student union chief in May 2018 when the university found itself mired in a controversy over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the premises.

The union has maintained that Jinnah’s portrait had been hanging in the university since 1938 — when he was given honorary membership of the students’ union, as were several other leaders of the time.

Usmani’s candidature had sparked a controversy, with BJP leader Giriraj Singh slamming the Congress for fielding someone who “supports Jinnah”.

Jale will go to polls in the last leg of the Bihar elections on 7 November, and both Adityanath and Nadda campaigned in the constituency on 4 November and 5 November, respectively, for sitting BJP MLA Jibesh Kumar.


Also read: This is my last election, says CM Nitish Kumar on final day of Bihar election campaign


Yogi raised Pakistan issue, Nadda Ram Mandir, Article 370

During his rally in Jale, Adityanath raised the issue of Pakistan, besides mentioning some of the developmental projects in the works for Darbhanga.

“You have heard in last week’s news that there was a discussion on Pulwama (attack) in Pakistan Parliament. One of the ministers said ‘If we did not release (IAF Wing Commander) Abhinandan, India would attack Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan was sweating, Pakistan Army chief’s legs were shaking. Pakistan’s fear is evident in the Modi era,” the UP chief minister said.

He then added: “We are making an airport at Darbhanga, AIIMS is established here, Mata Janki path is going to be built under NDA rule.”

Nadda, meanwhile, banked on the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and scrapping of Article 370 in J&K to seek votes.

“When I came here (Bihar), journalists asked me ‘Why you are raising the Ram Mandir issue?’. I said, ‘I am here in Sita mata’s birthplace (Darbhanga). Why I should not raise the issue of Ram Mandir here?’. People are happy here that Ram Mandir is going to be constructed. Modi has ensured the Supreme Court hears the Ram Mandir case every day to pronounce judgment,” he said at his rally.

“Congress has opposed the construction of Ram Mandir and created obstacles in (court) hearings. People from Darbhanga went to Jammu and Kashmir for flag-hoisting when Article 370 was scrapped. Modi ji and Amit Shah ensured scrapping of Article 370. Why should I not raise the issue of Article 370 here? They (Congress) are still opposing it. You know Modi ji’s leadership, you have to vote for the NDA,” Nadda added.


Also read: No more cavalcades, the sky is the way for Bihar election campaigners


Polarisation will help BJP 

Jale has a sizeable Muslim electorate, besides Bhumihar and Brahmin population. BJP sources said if votes are polarised, it will be a cakewalk for the BJP MLA to win the seat.

Jale voters said Usmani will face a tough contest as there is a high chance of polarisation of Hindu votes.

“It won’t be easy for Usmani. There are already speculations that if Usmani wins, the seat will get reserved for Muslims. So polarisation can happen among Hindus,” said Ravi Mishra, owner of a paan shop in Jale.

“Usmani seems to be making every effort to not polarise the election by asking people to vote in the name of education and health, though Yogi Adityanath has campaigned and raised the issue of Pakistan and interfaith marriages to polarise Hindu votes,” he added.

Usmani’s work, establishing libraries in Jale

Usmani, who is contesting assembly elections for the first time, made education the central theme of his campaign. 

Speaking on the Jinnah controversy and some news channels running shows on him being a “Jinnah sympathiser”, Usmani told ThePrint he has sent legal notices to the channels.

“This is the propaganda of BJP. They want to polarise the election so they have raised this issue. I have nothing to do with Jinnah. That time I have said since it (Jinnah portrait) is part of history, it should be kept in its place. But after my nomination, several people want to polarise the election, so they have raised this issue,” he said.

The 26-year-old, who has just completed a dentistry course, had taken up the work of establishing libraries in few of the villages in Jale during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Usmani, has also set a target to establish a library in every village or at least in every block of Jale.

In one of the villages, Deura Bhanduli, a library has already been set up in the name of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

“Our region was culturally sound. In the early days, education was good, there were good schools and colleges, there were libraries at many places, which are closed now. I knew the importance of libraries while studying. So when I came (to Jale) during lockdown, I started a movement to establish libraries in villages,” he said.

“I have borrowed books from others and refurbished libraries. I want to start a library in (Mahatma) Gandhi’s name in every block. Gandhi is the symbol of national unity, his life and his idea should be spread. Also, the dropout rate is high in rural areas, so these libraries will work as a catalyst in changing the village fabric,” Usmani added.

Besides education, he said, health “will be another priority area for me”.

“Being a doctor, I would like to have a small dispensary at every block and one good hospital in my constituency so that people don’t have to visit Delhi or Patna all the time,” Usmani added.

One of his professors told ThePrint: “It is good that he is making education the central theme of his campaign. It will give credibility to his journey. People will see him as a serious candidate.”


Also read: Why I am not excited about Bihar election: Yogendra Yadav


‘Borrowed money from father, friends to campaign’ 

Usmani is one of the poorest election nominees. He has assets worth of Rs 1 lakh, according to his election affidavit.

He said he took Rs 60,000 from his father and another Rs 30,000 from friends for election campaigning.

“I am running an election campaign without money. My father lives in a rented house. I am one of the poorest candidates fighting the election against rich candidates. Have you seen any candidate in this era who is fighting an election on borrowed money? Many politicians’ sons are contesting with lots of resources. I am the only one who is a real farmer son, who has no money. But I want to do politics on principles, many of my friends from Aligarh are assisting me,” Usmani added.


Also read: The real Bihar election will begin after the results


 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Obviously 370 removal and Ram Mandir was BJP promise and they delivered .. both are of utmost importance to Indian Identity and a civilization which was being trampled and taken for granted ..

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