This could be music to BJP’s ears. Hours before nominations came to an end for the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency, one of the constituents of the Mahagatbandhan, the VIP (Vikas-sheel Insaan Party) fielded its candidate Reeta Devi against Congress nominee Shatrughan Sinha.
Headed by self-proclaimed ‘son of Mallah’, Mukesh Sahni, who claims to wield enormous clout among Nishads (fishermen and boatmen) in Bihar, the VIP’s aim is to take ‘badla’ (revenge) from Congress.
“We want to avenge whatever happened with us in Madhubani,” said a VIP source. The VIP, which got three seats out of 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State to contest, has fielded its nominee Badri Purve from Madhubani. But the rebel Congress candidate and former Union Minister Shakeel Ahmad too is in the fray from Madhubani as an Independent. Shakeel, who twice represented Madhubani seat earlier, was miffed at being denied party ticket as the seat went to VIP.
This has upset VIP’s calculations. Despite Congress efforts, Shakeel has not withdrawn from the race, and has, therefore, weakened VIP’s probability of wresting Madhubani. The BJP has fielded veteran parliamentarian Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav’s son’s Ashok Yadav from Madhubani.
“It’s a tit for tat. You spoil our chance (at Madhubani). We will spoil yours (at Patna Sahib),” the VIP source said.
Shatru, meanwhile, is unperturbed over such developments. He is gearing up to campaign for his friend Subodh Kant Sahay in Ranchi, besides wife Poonam Sinha, who is contesting as Samajwadi Party nominee from Lucknow against BJP’s Rajnath Singh.
“I will be performing my dharma as a 'pati' (husband) while campaigning for my wife Poonam,” said Shatru, discounting reports about Congress being unhappy with his move. “The top Congress leadership is aware that I will campaign for my wife who is an SP nominee from Lucknow,” said Shatrughan, who is himself facing a tough fight in Patna Sahib against Union Minister and BJP candidate Ravi Shankar Prasad.