While the elder son and former MP Sarfaraz Aalam is the RJD nominee, the younger son, Shahnawaz Aalam, who is the sitting MLA from Jokihat, is the candidate of Asaduddin Owaisi-headed All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
In the NDA camp, the BJP has got the Jokihat seat in its share and it fielded Ranjit Yadav.
Taslimuddin, who died in 2017, was the face of the Seemanchal region, which comprises Purnia, Katihar, Araria and Kishanganj districts. He was a five-term MP. Apart from representing Jokihat assembly seat, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Purnia, Kishanganj as well as Araria.
Meanwhile, Taslimuddin’s eldest son Sarfaraz, then JD(U) MLA from Jokihat, resigned from his assembly seat, joined the RJD and subsequently contested the bypolls to Araria Lok Sabha seat necessitated by the demise of his father. He won the election.
The younger brother Shahnawaz won the bypolls to Jokihat assembly seat, vacated due to the resignation of his elder brother Sarfaraz.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Sarfaraz was defeated by the BJP candidate Pradeep Singh.
Differences between the two brothers arose after the RJD denied ticket to Shahnawaz and gave it to Sarfaraz. Following this, Shahnawaz immediately reached out to the AIMIM and got a ticket from his own constituency.
“This is not a family fight, but a battle of ideologies considering AIMIM does not represent the wider society,” said Sarfaraz’s son Ameer Faraz alias Gulab, who was campaigning in favour of his father in Palasi area of Jokihat assembly constituency on Wednesday.
Locals felt that the presence Taslimuddin’s two sons may lead to a division in the votes of the Muslim community, which had a sizeable presence in this seat.
“I am not happy with the presence of Taslimuddin’s two sons – Sarfaraz and Shahnawaz – in the fray from Jokihat. There may be a division in the Muslim votes,” said a fruit seller in Jokihat.
The banners displayed in Jokihat by both the sons carried the pictures of late Taslimuddin.
Sarfaraz’s supporters said everyone has the right to contest elections in a democracy. “We have nothing to worry about the presence of Shahnawaz in the fray from this seat. Our votes are intact. The grand alliance is a good option for the voters of this constituency,” said Mehboob Aalam, who was present in RJD’s election office in Jokihat.
Shahnawaz’s supporters said the RJD has not done justice to their leader by denying him a ticket. “He decided to contest the election as the AIMIM’s nominee under the pressure of his supporters,” said Anwarul Haq, a supporter of Shahnawaz in Jokihat town.