Congress leader Imran Masood, who had come into focus for his hate speech against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during 2014 elections, is contesting from Nakur assembly constituency of Saharanpur.
In a chat with Umesh Raghuvanshi he speaks about the SP-Congress alliance and his chances of winning.
What’s your take on the Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance?
It was the people’s wish to see the Congress and SP to contest jointly. Now with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav joining hands people are happy
Have the two parties accepted the alliance at grassroots level?
Ambition of some individuals of SP may be causing problems on certain seats. Alliance, however, has had a positive impact over the workers of the Congress and SP and the people across Uttar Pradesh.
A storm is building up in favour of Congress-SP alliance. It’s going to get two third majority in 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
How is it alliance doing in Saharanpur?
The Congress is contesting five seats in Saharanpur. The SP has fielded candidates on two seats. I am sure the Congress will win all the five seats. The SP will also win one out of two seats for sure. There is, however, a close fight on the other seat.
What are the issues in assembly elections in UP?
Demonetisation is a major issue. Rising unemployment, the condition of farmers and loss of crops are some other major issues. Miseries that people faced due to note ban are fresh in mind and they want to teach a lesson to the BJP in this election.
Will the demonetisation work against BJP?
Demonetisation had created an atmosphere of uncertainty. It left a large number of youth jobless. I heard Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh president saying that 4.5 crore persons have been rendered jobless. So, it’s bound to work against them.
Will there be any polarisation in favour of the BJP?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no achievement to take to people. The poor are the worst sufferers during the tenure of this government. The BJP has always tried to polarize people. Alliance will stop the polarization in Uttar Pradesh.
Will your hate speech against Modi (in 2014 polls) affect your election?
My 2014 statement against Modi is a thing of past. That statement has no relevance now. My statement was quoted and shown out of context. Such a statement, however, should be avoided in a civilized society. I have already expressed my regret over it.
Will the PM campaign in Saharanpur?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not yet visited Saharanpur for campaigning after announcement of assembly elections. BJP president Amit Shah is, however, coming to Saharanpur to campaign for his party candidate on my seat as well.
Will Amit Shah’s campaign work against you?
Amit Shah’s campaign will not make any difference. I have support of the people from every section of the society.
How is Uttarakhand poll affecting bordering areas of your district?
In Uttarakhand the Congress is coming back to power. The Congress is winning the poll in all the states. So, there is no problem for us.
Will you campaign outside Saharanpur?
I will go everywhere my party sends me for campaigning.
Will more Congress leaders campaign for you?
We have not received programmes of other leaders so far. Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad will be coming for campaigning in Saharanpur on February 11 and 12.