New Delhi: The battle of ballot in Bhopal (North) constituency has a legendary family title at the heart of it — who is the real Sher-e-Bhopal (Lion of Bhopal)?
BJP’s only Muslim candidate contesting from Bhopal (North), Fatima Siddiqui, 35, is taking the Madhya Pradesh elections as an opportunity to reclaim her father’s title of ‘Sher-e-Bhopal’. As of now, the title is associated with the lone Muslim legislator in the state assembly, Arif Aqueel of Indian National Congress.
In Siddiqui’s opinion, the title would not have been dissociated with her family’s name had INC given her mother the ticket to contest, after her father Rasool Ahmed’s death. Her father was a Congress leader and won on the party ticket in 1980 and 1985.
When asked her strategy to defeat the present ‘Lion of Bhopal’ Arif Aqueel, Siddiqui said, “This title belonged to my father, it would have stayed with the family if the political aspirations of my family were nurtured by the Congress. Had my mother been allowed to contest after my father’s death, the title would not have been appropriated by Aqueel.”
She further told News18.com that with the upcoming elections, she will revive the political legacy of her father and reclaim the title. “Maybe, improvise it to be called the Lioness of Bhopal,” Siddiqui said.
Her drifting towards BJP is more because of the angst against the Congress, as it seems. Her father, who was the first candidate to make Congress win in Bhopal (North) during 1980 polls, lost to BJP’s Ramesh Sharma in 1993. Following that year’s election, Rasool died and no one in the family was given a ticket by Congress. Siddiqui had also attempted to contest from the constituency as a Congress leader, but was never given an opportunity by the party.
“I didn’t want to waste my time over something that was not going to happen. I waited but then Congress didn’t give me ticket to contest. I understood their politics and I am now with the BJP,” she said. Since 1998 Aqueel has been winning the elections in the constituency.
Siddiqui’s father, who was a Congressman had good will among people. She will campaign and emulate her father’s politics and style. “I want to change the communal politics, which is prevalent under the current leadership of the constituency. I want to fight on issues that affect the people regularly. My father was known for Ganga-Jamuni politics and not the communal one. I am going to follow his footsteps,” Siddiqui, mother of a 13-month-old daughter, added.