Abu Sayeed Ahmed with inputs from Najib Anwar
It is expected for any political worker to have edge for his social service raise their voice when they lose; especially if some foul play happens. But for Aaftab Alam, a CPI (ML Liberation) candidate in the recently concluded Bihar assembly election this was not what happened. He has suffered a bitter loss after a slandering campaign went against him.
Aaftab Alam is a social worker who had struggled establishing ITI colleges in Aurai and got arrested in the Patna bomb blast case only on suspicion. He was in police custody for 27 days. After he came out of jail, he joined the Insaaf Manch. He started working in Muzaffarpur, protesting, agitating on various local issues. He was vocal against NRC /CAA, conducting and leading rallies. He raised issues of Dalit atrocities. During the lockdown he was seen distributing ration. Last April, when a Yadav boy got killed, Aaftab protested against the police inaction and landed himself in jail. He was put under Indian Penal Code 353 and was arrested while filing his nomination as a CPI (ML) Liberation candidate.
Aurai, located in the district of Muzaffarpur, North Bihar, is known for Yadav- Muslim unity. Yadavs are in a majority here. Even BJP candidate Ram Surat Rai is from Yadav community. RJD with a good support base in this area had won in the 2015 assembly election. CPI (ML) Liberation was hell bent on fielding a candidate from this constituency as Dipankar Bhattacharya, the general secretary of the party told The Background recently. “Aurai was a battle for justice. We demanded Aurai precisely for the sake of Aaftab Alam,” he categorically stated. RJD, willy- nilly gave away the seat to CPI (ML Liberation) but failed to transfer the votes due to communal polarisation campaign orchestrated by BJP.
“BJP promised they will give 2000/- to 6000/- to all the dalits for Chhath festival” claimed his brother.
They also took more mean policies to vilify Aaftab. One video went viral in WhatsApp where it was claimed Aaftab was going to turn Aurai into Pakistan.
There was fake news on him, threatening Narendra Modi’s rally combining with his recent arrest over mysterious death of Dilip Rai last August.
As a result, unlike other CPI (ML Liberation) candidates, he suffered a bitter loss. He hardly got any votes outside the Muslim community as the data shows. He got 24.5% votes whereas there are 23% Muslims in that constituency.
In a recent press conference in Kolkata, Bhattacharya lashed BJP for its communal campaign in Aurai.
But barring CPI (ML) Liberation, other Mahagathbandhan partners like RJD, Congress or CPI (M) are yet to open their mouth against this slanderous campaign.
As BJP IT cell leader, Amit Malvya is getting more involved in the election process of West Bengal, which is scheduled in the middle of next year any countermeasure to prevent repetition of such loss due to hate speech, has yet to be seen from the Left. Is CPI (M), the largest contingent from the Left, prepared? The alarming flood of malicious campaign is looming large in the run up to the Assembly election in the state.
Cover photo: Aaftab Alam is with CPIML (Liberation) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya and party leader Kavita Krishnan (seated far right) in a recent election rally. Via- Twitter