New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party, or the AAP, today netted its first big catch in Bihar when Parveen Amanullah, a 55-year-old social activist-turned-politician who quit Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) and government two days ago, joined Arvind Kejriwal's political outfit.
The AAP has announced its plans to contest around 350 seats in the national elections, due by May. The decision by Mrs Amanullah, a former RTI activist and anti-graft crusader, is expected to give a fillip to Mr Kejriwal's party in a state dominated by three political heavyweights - Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal, or the RJD and the BJP, besides the JD(U).
Mrs Amanullah, while quitting the JD(U) on Tuesday, had not rule out the possibility of joining another party. "The system has limitations and I could not work around it. I will look if there is a better system anywhere, perhaps another party," she said.
Daughter of retired diplomat-turned-politician Syed Shahabuddin and wife of a senior Bihar-cadre IAS officer who is at present on deputation at the Centre, Ms Amanullah was drafted into politics by Mr Kumar's JD(U) after she had built a reputation as an intrepid social worker. The chief minister offered her a ticket on the eve of the 2010 assembly polls.
She accepted the challenge and won comfortably from Sahebpur Kamal, defeating a powerful candidate from Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal and former minister Shri Narayan Yadav.
Ms Amanullah was among two Muslim women who won on the JD(U) platform. Nitish Kumar rewarded her with a berth in his council of ministers.
Her resignation will not just be an embarrassment but a cause for concern for the JD(U), as Mr Kumar's electoral plans are largely predicated on expanding his party's social base by assiduously wooing the minorities. Last year, he booted the BJP out of a 17-year-old alliance when the party elevated Narendra Modi.