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Friday, December 22, 2006

Shahnawaz Hussain registers a convincing victory in Lok Sabha by-elections from Bhagalpur

He is the first Muslim to have been elected to the Lok Sabha on a BJP ticket twice. Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, the former Union Civil Aviation Minister has seen it all – crowning glory and a near political oblivion – at a young age of 38. He might have lost the 2004 Parliament elections from his home constituency Kishanganj, Bihar – with almost 70% Muslim population – only to win the recent Bhagalpur Parliament by-election handsomely – defeating RJD rival, Shakuni Chaudhury by over 50,000 votes.

He has contested for the Lok Sabha four times and won twice. After 16 years in the BJP, Shahnawaz doesn’t represent Hindutva as much, though he has a Hindu wife. “I offer namaz five times a day”, he says, “and I celebrate both Eid and Diwali with equal fervour”. Shahnawaz is the Muslim voice in BJP. As Civil Aviation Minister, he increased Haj subsidy quota though his own party opposed it saying Hindus should also be given subsidy for Kailash Mansarovar yatra. Belonging to the Sunni sect, he claims to represent over 160 million Muslims in India. But, sometimes he feels bitter about his own community.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2006

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