After the pull out of JD(U)’s Akhatarul Iman to “prevent division of secular votes”, community leaders have been putting pressure on Abu Kaiser, Ghulam Gous and Salim Pervez in Bhagalpur, Madhubani and Saran respectively to withdraw from the race because of their weak positions. JD(U) has fielded Muslim candidates from four seats besides Kishanganj. The party had to field Shahid Ali Khan from Sheohar after former Rajya Sabha member Sabir Ali quit the party.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar accused the Congress of “engaging in such games”. Congress sources said though they were not behind it, they welcomed the development.
In Bhagalpur, some top Muslim religious leaders are believed to be asking Abu Kaisar to withdraw in favour of RJD’s Bulo Mandal, who is banking on over eight lakh Muslim-Yadav and Gangota (MYG) votes. Mandal, an EBC Gangota, is giving a tough fight to sitting BJP MP Shahnawaz Hussain. A “nervous” Hussain, sources said, met some Muslim religious leaders Thursday in an attempt to break the Muslim votes from the MYG block.
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Madhubani’s JD(U) candidate Ghulam Gous is lagging behind the leading contenders —sitting BJP MP Hukum Dev Narayan Yadav and RJD’s Abdul Bari Siddiqui. “Gous has not been campaigning in Muslim-dominated areas and is facing pressure from the Siddiqui camp as well as religious leaders to pull out,” said a local source. Salim Pervex in Saran is pitted against RJD’s Rabri Devi and BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy and is also reportedly under pressure to withdraw to prevent “division of secular votes”.