Other States

Surprise RJD ticket to scribe makes news

In March this year, when the Rashtriya Janata Dal announced its list of candidates for all 20 seats it was contesting in Bihar, Sheohar was an exception.

Party patriarch Lalu Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav wanted the ticket for one of his loyalists, Angesh Kumar Singh.

Though it was then widely believed that Mr. Prasad might withhold the candidate’s name, a few days later his younger son Tejashwi Yadav sprang a surprise and announced the name of Syed Faisal Ali as the party nominee for the seat.

Dark horse

The announcement sparked much speculation as no one had a clue about the dark horse and how he managed to swing an RJD ticket to contest against two-time sitting BJP MP Rama Devi. Adding to the speculation, Mr. Ali is the lone journalist contesting the LS poll from Bihar.

“As my father had passed away on March 26, the party decided not to announce my name along with the others. It had nothing to do with Tej Pratap wanting to field his candidate,” Mr. Ali told The Hindu at the party’s camp office in Sheohar Bazaar.

A young man with long sidebars and dressed in white kurta-pyjama, Mr. Ali greeted a group of people with folded hands before settling down for a chat.

“Being in the media, I had been following politics closely but never thought that I would contest polls one day,” he said, running his beringed fingers through his tousled hair.

The buzz in party circles is that Mr. Ali, along with Mr. Tejashwi Yadav and a very senior Congress leader in Delhi, had rescued the RJD’s alliance with the Congress from an imminent split on the question of seat sharing.

On his relation with Mr. Prasad, he said: “Laluji and my father Ashad Ali were closely associated since the days of the JP movement, and our family remained in touch thereafter.” His father was a practising lawyer at the Patna High Court though the family hails from Gaya.

Seasoned journalist

Second of four brothers, Mr. Ali has been group editor of Roznama Rashtriya Sahara, editor of the Arab News, and worked with the Saudi Gazette and the BBC World Service.

He says he has reported from various conflict zones, including Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and also covered the Arab Spring. He was also invited by the U.S. government for its prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program in 2014.

“On March 10, 2018, I resigned from Roznama Rashtriya Sahara to form a news network which has been bringing out an Urdu newspaper Sacch Ki Awaz from Delhi,” Mr. Ali said. “We’ve also planned to start a Bihar edition of our newspaper soon.”

Mr. Ali hoped to add to RJD numbers, banking on support of about 3.5 lakh Muslim and 2 lakh Yadav voters traditionally loyal to the RJD. On why people should vote for him, he said, “Because I’ve a clean image, no tainted past and I’ve this urge to reach out to people for social justice.”

Sheohar goes to the polls on May 12.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 10:34:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/surprise-rjd-ticket-to-scribe-makes-news/article26926530.ece

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