Like other constituencies of the country, election campaigns have ended in Kishanganj district yesterday evening. Development remained the key factor for almost all political leaders contesting elections from Kishanganj. Poverty and unemployment were other issues raised by candidates during poll campaigns. However, hardly any one talks about the dismal state of education in the district.
Despite having an important place in Indian politics, Kishanganj is one of the most educationally backward district of the country. In fact, Kishanganj district has least number of female literate in India. Spread over an area of 2862.48 sq. kms, Kishanganj has a population of 20,08,503 including 10,38,757 males and 9,69,746 females. But, sadly only 4,55,049 people are literate that comprising of 3,26,682 males and 1,28,367 literate females.
Mostly political leaders while campaigning in Kishanganj talk about development, poverty and unemployment, but show least interest on talking about literacy. Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasimi contesting election with ticket of Indian National Congress is the lone candidate in Kishanganj to speak about education in Kishanganj.
An Alumni of Daruloom Deoband, Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasimi has made the education a main agenda in previous elections as well. Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasimi has spoken about the educational development of Kishanganj in all public addresses. The congress candidate has promised that several schools, college and technological institutes will be opened in Kishanganj, if he wins the elections this time.
Presently a senior functionary of All India Milli Council, Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasimi could not win elections in his previous three attempts. However, due to his zeal for education and love of the land he has opened Milli Girls School at Tarabari in Kishanganj district. With his sincere efforts, Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasimi founded the school few years back and now it is offering quality education to girls of Kishanganj. Along with girls of Kishanganj, several girls from nearby district are also getting education at Milli Girls School.
Of course, there are several private and government run schools in Kishanganj, but they are not enough to educate the huge population. People of Kishanganj are expecting many more such educational institutes that can’t be established without political support. If Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasimi wins election this time, it would be like a new dawn for educationally backward district.
Let us see, whether Maulauna Asrarul Haque Qasimi gets success this time or not. Most importantly it depends on 11, 85, 718 voters of Kishanganj to whom they select for development of the district in educational field. I think high literacy in Kishanganj will surely wipe out many social and economic problems that the people are facing now.
But, the bottom is line that Maulana is the lone political leader to show interest in educational development of Kishanganj and supporting the district through Milli Council since long time.
If he wins elections, development in education field will remain a top priority for him and the district can get rid of the ghost of the illiteracy.
Zubair Alam - BSP Elephant - Vill. SarogoraPO. BeluaPS+Distt. Kishanganj
Tasleem Uddin - RJD Hurricane Lamp - Ward No. 28Kakorwa BasantpurPO.+PS.+Distt. Araria
Mohammad Asrarul Haque - INC Hand - Vill.+PO. Tarabari ChaukPS Garbhandanga Distt. Kishanganj
Syed Mahmood Ashraf - JD(U) Arrow - Vill. BairiyaPO. Kanhariya PS. BaisiDistt. Purnea
Tamajul Ali - BJJD Almirah - Vill. DogachhiPO. Ruidhasa PS. ThakurganjDistt. Kishanganj
Mohammad Khashiur Rahman - SJP(R) Battery Torch - Vill. SarandaAnchal BahadurganjDistt. Kishanganj
Mohammad Nissar Alam - JMM Bow & Arrow - Vill. NadiagachhPO. Chanamana via Taiyabpur PothiaDistt. Kishanganj
Rajit Podar - ABAS Basket - Vill.+PO. ChhattargachhPS Paharkatta PothiaDistt. Kishanganj
Abdul Rajjak Urf Kal - IND Balloon - At. Darul Uloom Madarsa TolaPO.+PS. AmourDistt. Purnea
Abhinav Modi - IND Kite - DharmshalaRoadKishanganj
Asgar Malik - IND Letter Box - Vill. Balwat PO. BhojpurPS. TarabariDistt. Araria
Chotay Lal Mahto - IND Gas Cylinder - ChuripattiNunia BastiKishanganj
Md. Taslimuddin - IND Banana - At. PalasmaniPO.+PS. BahadurganjDistt. Kishanganj
Vishwanath Kejriwal - IND Nagara - Shivajee ColonyPS. K. HatPurnea
This time 15 candidates are contesting election from Kishanganj that include 7 independent candidates. Union State Minister Mohd. Taslimuddin is the candidate of RJD, while Maulana Asrarul Haq Qasmi is contesting election with Congress ticket. Syed Mahmood Ashraf (JDU), Zubair Alam (BSP), Tajammul Ali (BJJD), Mohd Khashiur Rahman (SJP), Mohd Nisar Alam (JMM) and Ranjit Poddar (ABAS) are other candidates contesting election with tickets of registered political parties.
Independent candidates include Abdul Razzaq alias Kal, Abhinav Modi, Asghar Malik, Chhote Lal Mahto, Mohd. Taslimuddin, Vishwanath Kejriwal and Sikander Singh. However, the main battle is between RJD’s Mohd Taslimuddin and Congress candidate Maulana Asrarul Haq Qasmi.
In 2009 there are 11, 85, 718 valid voters in Kishanganj district that include 561429 women voters.
At the same time, youth voters are also going to make a difference in Kishanganj Loksabha election. There are 286000 youth voters in Kishanganj including 11332 voters from the age group of 18 to 19 and 206785 voters between 20 and 29 year. Hence youth voters of Kishanganj can change the course of election in any direction.
For a better understanding let us have a look on the results of the 13th Lok Sabha elections (1999) when Maulana Asrarul Haque and Mohd Taslimuddin were face to face. In 1999 Maulana Asrarul Haque fetched 1,97, 478 votes, while Mohd. Taslimuddin got 2,49, 387 votes. But BJP’s Syed Shahnawaz Hussain won the election with 2,58, 035 votes. The above figures suggest that the number of votes received by the three major contenders were less than the number of youth voters in 2009.
In addition to Maulana Asrarul Haque and Mohd. Taslimuddin, Syed Mahmood Ashraf will also get good number of votes. So, this time again the major number of votes will be shared by these three leaders. Now coming to the point, if any one of these three leaders gets success in winning the faith of youth voters he will emerge victorious.
But, one interesting fact is that all the three leaders are above 50 year old, which is not new in Indian politics. We are developing in every field and going neck-to-neck with developing countries. Despite such growth, youths have no choice and are bounded to select yesteryear leaders like L.K.Advani and Manmohan Singh.
Of course, youth voters make a huge percentage in Kishanganj, but they have to choose from age old leaders. It would be not fair to say 66 year old Mohd. Tasliumuddin an old leader, because he is 10 years younger than independent candidate Vishwanath Kejriwal (76 year old). At last we can say, everything is possible in Indian politics, it depends on youths how they utilise their minds and select the good representative.
April 9 was the last day to file nominations for the Lok Sabha elections in Kishanganj district of Bihar. All the candidates filed their nominations as decided earlier. However, one major change came in the form of Maulana Asrarul Haque, who got ticket from Congress party a couple of days back. Earlier Dr. Jawed Azad was all set to contest elections with Congress ticket, but the party made last minute changes to achieve success against RJD's strong leader Mohd. Taslimuddin. Maulana Asrarul Haque's nomination as Congress candidate has totally changed the election scenario in Kishanganj.
A cabinet state minister Taslimuddin was expecting an easier fight this time, as other candidates were not much influential among public. Most importantly, BJP's candidate Syed Shahnawaz Hussain who was the main contender of Taslimuddin for past three occasions, vacated the seat for Janata Dal United candidate Syed Mahmood Ashraf. As Shahnawaz witnessed a mammoth defeat and got 2 lakh 59 thousand votes against winning candidate Taslimuddin's 4 lakh 30 thousands votes, so he didn't dare to contest elections from Kishanganj.
With Shahnawaz's exit the win had become easier for Taslimuddin, but what he never expected happened in the last moment. Congress was unhappy with RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav's seat sharing policy in Bihar, so it decided to contest elections from most of the seats in the state including Kishanganj. Fact is that, the party had once enjoyed a strong hold in Kishanganj constituency and won the elections six times. But, in the recent past like most regions of the country Congress party had lost his grip in Kishanganj. This time before the elections Congress had decided to provide the ticket to Dr. Jawed Azad. Most workers of Congress were not happy with the decision of party that caused major change, and Maulana Asrarul Haque was given priority in place of Dr. Jawed Azad.
Now Congress is highly confident for triumph in Kishanganj with Maulana Asrarul Haque. And logically due to Maulana Asrar factor, the party's expectations can't be said wrong at all. In current scenario, if we take into account Maulana Asrarul Haque's past records it would not be wrong to expect victory for Congress in the 15th Lok Sabha elections. A number of reasons favour Maulana Asrarul Haque and people have started speculations for his win. In fact, in every nook and corner of the district including chowks and chowrahas (cross-roads), Maulana Asrarul Haque has become a debated topic.
Let us have a look on Maulana's political journey that had started 20 years back in 1989 during 9th Lok Sabha elections. For the first time, Maulana Asrarul Haque contested elections as an independent candidate with a 'lion' symbol. In 1989 elections, from youth to elders all were chanting 'jeetega bhai jeetega, sher chhap jeetega'. On the other hand renowned journalist M.J. Akbar was fighting election with Congress ticket. At last the election results surprised all, M. J. Akbar won by 25,991 votes. M.J.Akar got 1,78,556 votes which was 32.53 per cent of valid votes, while Maulana Asrarul Haque occupied the second spot with 1, 52565 votes, 27.80 per cent of valid votes.
Maulana's defeat was a major set back for him and his supporters as well. The people's favourite leader didn't contested election for two consecutive terms until 1998 when he got ticket from Smajwadi Party. Despite a long gap, Maulana didn't lost his influence and lost election to Taslimuddin only by 6,488 votes and secured 2,30,256 votes, 31.58 per cent of valid votes.
One year later in 1999 Maulana contested election with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and got 1,97, 478 votes that caused defeat of Taslimuddin. The Maulana - Taslim clash benefitted BJP's candidate Syed Shahnawaz Hussain who won the elections with 2,58,035 votes. Taslimuddin remained at the second spot with 2,49, 387 votes. Despite securing third position in 1999 elections, interestingly Maulana got highest votes in Bahadurganj and Amor areas that included 44,738 and 48, 273 votes respectively.
In 2004, Maulana Asrarul Haque didn't contested elections and Taslimuddin defeated Syed Shahnawaz Hussain with more than 1 lakh 70 thousand votes. This time, no one was expecting, Maulana will contest parliamentary elections. But, his candidature as Congress candidate has changed the election equations in Kishanganj.
In fact, by leaving behind his three times defeat record, Maulana has started to smell victory in 15th Lok Sabha elections. Maulana's clean image is the main plus point, in addition to this, his contribution in the field of education in educationally backward Kishanganj district will help him a lot. Taslim's criminal record is the main ghost of his political career, but his self proclaimed development works may come to his rescue.
On the whole, both Maulana Asrarul Haque and Mohd. Taslimuddin have a strong backup from their supporters. Statistically it is going to be a close fight between Maulana and Taslim. But, Maulana's magical charm is enough to change the final election results in Kishanganj. Let us wait and see, whether people's effort makes Maulana victorious or not. If Maulana get success on his fourth attempt it would be a historic moment for him and the locals as well. Most importantly, Maulana's victory will be booty for Congress party, which has almost lost his stand in Bihar and facing wrath of RJD and LJP.
In fact, there are several regions in country where poll results depend on votes of people of particular faith. Among them is Kishanganj district is one of the important the constituency where election results mostly depend on Muslim votes. One of the economically backward districts of India, Kishanganj has its special place in political scenario of the country. Around 85 per cent population of Kishanganj is Muslims that compels the political parties to choose candidates according to people’s wishes.
Most of the time, all major parties nominate Muslim candidates to fight general elections from Kishanganj. Likewise, this time too Lalu Prasad headed Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) will be represented by current Member of Parliament (MP) Mohd. Taslimuddin. While Maulana Asrarul Haque and Mohd Zubair Alam will be contesting election for Congress and Bahujan Samajwadi Party respectively. Only Sikandar Singh is a non Muslim candidate, who is fighting election for Rashtriya Sewa Dal.
Interestingly, BJP which is known for saffron image till the last elections was represented by a Muslim candidate Syed Shahnawaz Hussain. But this time, BJP is contesting the election with Janata Dal United and has given its alliance party to nominate its candidate from Kishanganj. Syed Mahmood Ashraf is representing Janata Dal United in the general elections.
On the whole, the poll result in Kishanganj revolves around Muslim voters, that’s why BJP didn’t dare to contest election in this constituency. At the same time, it would really interesting to see whom the people of Kishanganj choose as their leader.
Among the five major candidates contesting elections from Kishanganj, four are Muslim candidates and one is non Muslim. It would not be wrong to expect clear victory for Mohd. Taslimuddin, who has won MP election from Kishanganj past time and earlier as well. Known for his criminal records, Taslimuddin won past elections in the name of development. For last five years, several development projects have finished under Taslimuddin’s supervision. In fact, he has masked his infamous image with the welfare of common people. Keeping in mind various aspects, I think this time too, he may emerge victorious.