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Veteran RJD leader quits party, may contest as an independent

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) suffered a setback on Wednesday with senior leader and former MP M A A Fatmi resigning from the party and announcing his intention to contest from the Madhubani seat.

Fatmi resigned from the RJD after almost 30 years of association with the party. Earlier, he had joined hands with RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in 1989 and made his way to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1991 from the Darbhanga parliamentary seat.

“I have resigned from the party with a heavy heart. I did not have any other option after I was almost shown the door when Tejaswi Prasad Yadav talked about suspending me from the party for the next six years on Tuesday. This is the treatment meted out to senior leaders like me, who have nurtured the RJD and given their prime years,” Fatmi said.

The former MP said he would file his nomination papers from the Madhubani parliamentary seat tomorrow, the last date of nomination for the seat going to polls in the fifth phase on May 6. Asked whether he would contest as an independent or from any other party, Fatmi said it would be evident on the following day. “I may contest as an independent or on a symbol of a national party,” he said.

There are speculations that the former union minister, considered a big Muslim draw in the Darbhanga- Madhubani belt in north Bihar, is vying for a ticket from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Fatmi, a four time MP, had developed cold relations with the RJD top brass including opposition leader Tejaswi Prasad Yadav recently, after he was denied a ticket from the Madhubani parliamentary constituency, the seat allotted to Vikassheel Insaan Party, a small ally of the grand alliance.

Once considered close to the RJD chief, Fatmi had tried to put pressure on the RJD leadership especially Tejaswi and Lalu to allot him a ticket by withdrawing the seat from VIP having given an ultimatum that the party should take a call by April 17.

But, Tejaswi on Tuesday rejected Fatmi’s ultimatum saying the senior leader did not have a natural claim on the seat and cannot seek it as his ‘birthright’, leaving the estranged leader fuming.

Fatmi had resigned from all party posts yesterday, indicating that the leader had rebelled.

“RJD has become a family-run party and only one family matters in all decisions. Lalu’s elder son and MLA Tej Pratap Yadav has been indulging in all sorts of anti-party activities and even fielded his nominees from Jehanabad and Sheohar against RJD’s candidates. But, why is no action been taken against him,” he asked.

The exit of Fatmi could upset electoral prospects of the grand alliance in the Madhubani seat. Even Congress’ senior leader and former MP Shakeel Ahmed has already filed his nomination from the seat as an independent candidate.

In this poll season, several top Bihar politicians have left their parent party to join other outfits or contest as independent candidates in protest against not being allotted a ticket. The rebel leaders include former BJP MP from Banka Putul Kumari who is contesting the seat as an independent after leaving the BJP whereas BJP’s sitting MLC Sachhidanand Rai has announced his candidature from the Maharajganj seat against BJP’s official nominee Janardhan Singh Sigriwal.

Again, sitting BJP MP from the Valmikinagar seat Satish Chandra Dubey has announced to contest the seat as an independent against NDA ally JD(U)’s candidate Baidynath Prasad Mahto. In the Hajpiur seat, the infighting in the RJD’s first family is visible with Lalu’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav fielding his own candidate Balender Das against RJD’s candidate Shiv Chandra Ram.

First Published:
Apr 17, 2019 22:47 IST

Source: HindustanTimes