NCP general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Tariq Anwar represented Katihar Lok Sabha seat four times since 1980. His political career started as a student leader and he lost his maiden election as a Congress nominee for the Katihar seat in 1977. His political mentor was veteran Congress leader Sitaram Keshri. As the party candidate, he seeks to regain Katihar.
Excerpts from an interview:
You failed to win Katihar after you joined NCP. Was it a political blunder?
You forget that my losses were by the narrowest of margins. In 2004, I lost to BJP by 2,200 votes and by a similar margin later. People love me here and despite my defeats I have been in touch with them and have always done my best for them.
Do you think the Congress opposed your candidature from Katihar ever since you left the party?
You can’t rule out the infightings and this may be one of the reasons behind my defeat. But the main reason is that the BJP unveils a communal card just before polling day and that results in my defeat. But this time history is not going to repeat itself and I am going win by a huge margin.
You have been very close to Nitish Kumar in Bihar. Between Lalu Prasad and him, who is better?
I have very good relations with both of them. But in politics personal relations don’t count as you have to stick with political ideology. We are secularists and all those who are in favour of this idea are with us. Lalu Prasad has proved it and hence we are on the same platform. The Congress, RJD and NCP are secular in the true sense and people have recognised the alliance.
Do you think Bukhari’s call to Muslims to back Congress and its alliance will help?
No. Religious leaders have no impact on political turf. Their support will yield no fruits to any party anywhere.
What prospects do you see for the RJD-Congress-NCP alliance in Bihar?
Very good! We are leading everywhere, leaving the BJP far behind. Our fight is with JD-U in some seats. You can’t decimate the party of Nitish Kumar in Bihar.
What is your poll agenda in this election?
Development! This is not because I am contesting a seat. Even when I lost, I carried on with the development work I had undertaken.