In an exclusive interview with Maktoob, Grand Alliance candidate from Bihar’s Katihar district, Shakeel Ahmad Khan said he has the masterplans for the Seemanchal region’s development.
Congress national secretary and sitting MLA Khan is contesting again from Kadwa in Katihar.
Kadwa is one of the minority-dominated 45 constituencies in the Seemanchal area. Seemanchal region includes the most backward and flood-affected districts of Bihar and stands at the bottom of the 90 minority concentrated districts of India.
Khan told Maktoob that the Congress party has definitely a plan for Seemanchal.
“Our alliance and Congress party have already planned about it,” Khan responded.
“I have implemented many projects here (Kadwa constituency). 350 roads were made. Many projects which fix the issues made by floods are underway,” Khan said.
In 2015, Khan won the Kadwa constituency seat with a margin of 3.7% securing 56141 votes against BJP candidate Chander Bhushan Thakur.
The Muslim populated region Seemanchal is backward, both in terms of its socio-economic standing and its infrastructure indicators.
“The reason of backwardness are two. 1) It is backward because there is no solid focus on the area. It is completely a rural area. 2) It is surrounded by rivers Kosi, Ganga, and Mahananda,” Khan who was born in Kabar Kothi village of Katihar said.
Khan said: “Last fifteen years we had many factories in Katihar district. Everything is closed. We have not seen our CM as he has not spoken any word about them (factories) where he can employ a minimum of 500 people in the area.”
Muhammed Nizamuddin, 45, is an electrician in Govind Chowk village in the constituency.
“He is the only MLA who worked for the welfare of people in Kadwa’s history,” Nizamuddin told Maktoob.
Nizamuddin said earlier MLAs and MPs were only staying inside the houses.
“Their doors were shut. But Shakeel Saab is coming to our doors. He is interested in fixing our issues,” Nizamuddin said.
“When the flood came, MLA sir was with us. He helped us even though the state government ignored us,” Prem Kumar Choudary, a sweet-seller in Kadwa said to Maktoob.
Choudary is sure his favorite politician Shakeel Ahmad Khan will win the election.
“110%,” he said.
The constituency goes to polls on 7 November.
‘Nitish’s 1.9 million jobs promise is a lie‘
Khan told Maktoob that the NDA’s 1.9 million jobs promise to the youth of Bihar is a lie like Narendra Modi’s election promise of 20 million jobs in the 2014 election campaign.
“We know their character. Our Prime Minister many times said that they are going to give 20 million employments per year. People of India, particularly people of Bihar now fed up with their lies,” Khan said.
Khan said the Tejashwi Yadav led Grand Alliance has forced BJP and JD(U) to discuss the real issues in the election campaigns.
“When we (Grand Alliance) say that we are going to one million jobs, JD(U) chief and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said it is not possible. And when they bring out their manifesto they included 1.9 million jobs promise in it,” he pointed.
“Tejashwi Yadav is a young man with a vision and solid arguments. He has already become the leader of Bihar,” Khan said.
From SFI JNU to Congress
Sitting MLA Khan was Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president in 1992-93. While Khan had contested students’ union polls as a member of the CPIM’s students body Students Federation of India (SFI), he joined the Congress party in 1999 as he moved out of university politics.
Khan pursued his education at JNU from where he obtained MA, M.Phil. and Ph.D.
Currently Khan is Party-in-Charge for the state of West Bengal.