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Babri crusader kin on NDA ticket radar
Parveen Amanullah, (above) Syed Shahabuddin

Patna, Sept. 22: The ruling alliance in Bihar is considering fielding Parveen Amanullah, the wife of the IAS officer who mapped the arrest of BJP leader LK Advani during his rath yatra to Ayodhya in 1990 that touched off a chain of events culminating in the demolition of the Babri Masjid two years later.

Parveen, 49, is also the daughter of Syed Shahabuddin, the diplomat-turned-politician who was among the most vocal Muslim leaders during the Babri Masjid campaign and has been crusading for rebuilding the mosque at the site where it stood.

Poles apart from Shahabuddin in ideology, Advani may end up campaigning for his old adversary’s daughter if she gets a ticket from the Janata Dal (United), which is in alliance with the BJP in Bihar.

Parveen, top sources in the JD(U) said, has got the nod to enter the poll fray as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee from Sahebpur Kamal, a Muslim-dominated constituency in north Bihar’s Begusarai district. She has been camping at Sahebpur Kamal and has begun campaigning among the voters as the JD (U) candidate. However, the sources added, the final decision would have to be taken by the party brass.

If Advani does indeed campaign for Parveen, the clock would have turned full circle. Parveen is the wife of Afzal Amanullah, the Bihar cabinet secretary, who, as the deputy commissioner of Dhanbad in 1990, had chalked out the plan to arrest Advani who was on his rath yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya.

As Advani’s rath entered Dhanbad in Bihar in October 1990, Amanullah put in place the plan to nab the “charioteer”. Lalu Prasad, then the chief minister of undivided Bihar, did not let Amanullah to personally execute the plan for “political reasons”. The job was left to IAS officer RK Singh and IPS officer Rameshwar Oraon, who arrested Advani at Samastipur on October 23, 1990, and placed him under “house arrest” in Masanjore, now in Jharkhand.

Parveen, however, does not have any compunction about breaking bread with the BJP. She got together with Rekha Modi, the cousin of deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, a BJP leader, to form “Hum-Log” — a forum to fight for the rights of the people.

Parveen and Rekha “inspected” the premises of the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) and other hospitals to “expose” the doctors’ apathy towards poor patients. The duo carried out a campaign to ensure action in favour of those who had invoked the Right to Information (RTI) Act, often leading to the embarrassment for the NDA regime.

“I have always fought for the rights of the people. My father has been a guiding force behind me for I adhere to his idealism and secular values,” Parveen told The Telegraph. But, she hastened to add, “I have strong faith in Nitish Kumar’s leadership”.

A clever player of power politics, the Bihar chief minister has, according to sources, decided to oblige Parveen with the ticket to send a message to Muslims that the JD (U) was the saviour of the community and its alliance with the BJP had not deterred it from fielding the daughter of Syed Shahabuddin, a leader identified with the cause of the Babri mosque and aversion to the Hindutva philosophy.

BJP leaders are also not averse to Shahabuddin’s daughter joining the fray as the NDA nominee. “Advaniji and other senior leaders will campaign for all NDA nominees, whoever they are. After all, it is the NDA rule which pulled the state out of the morass,” said deputy chief minister Modi, who had led the frenzied protests that followed Advani’s arrest.

Parveen, who is a post-graduate in social sciences from Delhi University, is strongly rooted to Bihar politics for her father represented the state’s Kishenganj Lok Sabha seat twice. Her bureaucrat-husband denies his role in Parveen’s political ventures. But Parveen says, “My husband has been cooperative to me. He has always been supportive to the social cause I have fought for.”

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