Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today suffered a jolt as JD(U) candidate from Kisanganj withdrew in favour of Congress nominee in the parliamentary election. "I have decided to withdraw myself from election in favour of sitting Congress candidate to check split of minority votes," JD(U) candidate Akhtarul Iman said.
Congress candidate Maulana Asrarul Haque is seeking re-election from the minority dominated Kisanganj Lok Sabha seat. Iman had recently crossed over to JD(U) from RJD and had resigned as MLA of that party from Kochadhaman in Kisanganj district. He was among 13 RJD MLAs to rebel against the party and seek separate status.
He was rewarded by Nitish Kumar with Lok Sabha ticket from Kisanganj. With the withdrawal of Iman, Kisanganj will witness a direct contest between Asrarul Haque (Cong) and DK Jaiswal (BJP). The seat will go to voting on April 24. Iman said he tried to contact the Chief Minister to inform him about his decision to withdraw from the race, but could not get through him. "I have acquainted JD(U) leaders in Kisanganj about the decision," he said.
"My purpose to enter the field was to defeat communal forces represented by Narendra Modi...I decided to withdraw from the race to strengthen the secular forces " he said. Iman, however, said he would remain in JD(U). Sources in Kisanganj attributed the withdrawal to lack of support he was getting from the chief minister.JD(U) cannot put a replacement for Iman as last date for filing nomination for April 24 poll ended on April 9.
The bad news from Kisanganj came to Nitish Kumar close on the heels of another party candidate Shabir Ali pulling him out of the race from Sheohar Lok Sabha seat. JD(U), however, was able to field state minister Shahid Ali Khan from Sheohar Parliamentary seat.
Later Shabir Ali left JD(U) for BJP, but soon he was out of the saffron party because of strong resistance from BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.