Babri leader's daughter seeks votes in Atal name

Babri leader's daughter seeks votes in Atal name

Out of sight, not out of mind Atal Behari Vajpayee may be tired and retired, but NDA nominees in Bihar are still using his name to seek votes. DH PHOTO/ABHAY KUMAR

Parveen Amanullah is the daughter of Syed Shahabuddin, former convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee. But  that has not dissuaded her to hit the campaign trail seeking votes in the name of Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Making her debut from a nondescript Sahebpur Kamal constituency, Parveen, a political greenhorn, is running against veteran Rashtriya Janta Dal leader Srinarayan Yadav, who was the urban development minister in Rabri Devi’s cabinet.
Parveen may not match the oratory skills of her diplomat-turned-politician father, but she is full of energy, and is bubbling with enthusiasm even after spending at least 14 hours a day on campaigning.

Major issues

But there are two major issues which go against this social worker-turned-politician. “People of Sahebpur Kamal treat her as an outsider. Even though she is a Muslim, the minorities here would vote for Lalu’s nominee Srinarayan Yadav,” averred Nand Kumar Yadav, a local in his early 40s.

To buttress his point, he adds: “Even when Srinarayan lost last time, he used to help us during crisis. But will Parveen, whose husband Afzal Amanullah is Bihar’s Cabinet Secretary, ever come to us after the elections are over?”

His fellow villager Rajeev Kumar Singh points out the second disadvantage with Parveen.
“She may be a good candidate but votes in this area are polled on caste lines. These days everybody talks of development, but when it comes to vote, the polling is done on caste basis,” says Rajeev, and goes on to explain how out of total two lakh voters, around 55,000 Yadavs, 30,000 Muslims and 10,000 Paswans together will make Srinarayan’s ride to Assembly smooth.

But the NDA nominee Parveen is unfazed over her rivals’ claim. “I am seeking votes from each and every person irrespective of caste, creed and religion.  “And if people won’t vote on the issue of development this time, then when will they do so?” she asks Deccan Herald, before moving ahead for her street-corner meetings in a Scorpio  which has a poster of Vajpayee and Nitish together. But there is no Advani, no Narendra Modi.