Wives of two dons battle it out in Siwan

While Mohd. Shahabuddin’s wife Hena Shahab has unsuccessfully contested the general election twice, it will be the first LS poll for Ajay Singh’s wife Kavita Singh

Updated - May 03, 2019 10:30 am IST

Published - May 02, 2019 11:05 pm IST

Hena Shahab.

Hena Shahab.

In conversation with Hena Shahab

It’s 7.30 a.m. and a motley crowd has gathered outside the modest home of imprisoned "Sultan of Siwan" Mohd. Shahabuddin in Pratapur village. Over two dozen SUVs are parked outside. Some of the occupants are sitting beneath trees, while others form a semi-circle on the verandah of the old house. Fully covered in burkha and hijab, Hena Shahab, Shahabuddin's wife, is standing on the half-closed doorsill and instructing a group about the day’s campaign. Contesting the Lok Sabha poll on an RJD ticket, Ms. Shahab takes some time off to respond to questions.

You have become mature now… earlier in the 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha polls you were a contestant with very few words on your lips.

Paristhithi sab kuch sikha deti hai (The situation makes you learn everything).

This time your fight is against the wife of another don... how do you see the challenge?

I don’t see any challenge. And moreover, I do not wish to make any comment on others. I want to focus only on my work and leave the rest to the people of Siwan who know well what my husband has done for them and what others have done.

After losing twice, how do you think you’ll win this time?

I lost in the 2009 parliamentary poll because I got very little time and I was a new entrant in politics… I could hardly speak at that time. In 2014 it was “Modi wave” that swept the poll. But this time, I’ve got experience and people too have realised what PM Modi promised them and what he has fulfilled. All the people cannot be cheated all the time.

Who do you find a better politician — Lalu Prasad or Nitish Kumar? And why?

Lalu Prasad always. He is the only mass leader of Bihar who cares for the downtrodden and becomes their voice. He doesn’t change, he doesn’t betray his people.

Do you miss your husband?

Yes, I miss him a lot… the people of Siwan miss him a lot.


In conversation with Kavita Singh

It’s 11. 30 a.m. and the blistering heat has forced everyone indoors, including Kavita Singh, the NDA candidate and wife of gangster Ajay Singh. Mr. Singh has been challenging Mohd. Shahabuddin’s sway in Siwan for several years. The couple are inside a local BJP leader’s house in the town. Mr. Singh, surrounded by a few of his men, is busy on his mobile phone asking people to ensure his wife’s victory. Ms. Singh, who has been MLA twice, comes out after some time. Resplendent in yellow sari, bangles, gold earrings, finger rings, mangal sutra  and a tattoo of her husband’s name on her right hand, she appears more articulate than her husband. She speaks like a seasoned politician.

Kavita Singh.

Kavita Singh.


How do you feel contesting the Lok Sabha poll for the first time?

Not much difference, except that we have to visit more people in more areas. But I’m getting an overwhelming response everywhere as people have made up their mind to bring Ram Rajya  in Siwan with Modi ji as Prime Minister.

How do you find Hena Shahab as a challenger?

Everyone knows in Siwan who she is. She has been defeated twice in the last two parliamentary polls and she will be defeated for the third time as well.

But you too are a wife of a don accused in several criminal cases.

All the cases lodged against my husband are false and politically motivated. He is a desh-bhakt  (patriot) and has been challenging the reign of terror unleashed in Siwan. If he is a gangster, why have people voted to elect me as an MLA twice? I feel bad when people call him a don.

What are the issues you raise when asking people to vote for you?

Desh ko bachana hai, Modi ji ko phir ek baar PM banana hain  (We’ve to protect our country and make Modi ji our Prime Minister again). I also tell people about the development work done by Nitish Kumar’s government in the State.

Who is a better leader Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad or PM Modi?

In the country it is Modi ji and in the State it is Nitish ji.

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