After bagging Miss India title three decades back and winning hearts through screen roles, Bollywood actress Nafisa Ali is now confident of success in Lok Sabha elections, which she is contesting as the Samajwadi Party candidate from Lucknow seat.
52-year-old Ali, who was given the ticket after the Supreme Court rejected actor Sanjay Dutt's candidature, is keen to remove the outsider tag attached with her that her political opponents and even locals raise frequently.
"I would like to remind the people of Lucknow that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was also an outsider as he was from Gwalior and lost elections from there. It was only after coming to Lucknow that he won five elections in a row and this city gave him the chance to be Prime Minister", the soft-spoken actress told PTI in an interview.
She said that her affiliation with the City of Nawabs goes back to her college days in Kolkata when she used to visit this city for cultural and extra-curricular activities.
Committed to be an asset for Lucknow, Ali, who lost the previous LS polls contesting as a Congress candidate from Kolkata said, "One of the main tasks will be to realise the unfulfilled dream of Vajpayee, to build an outer ring road".
To a question that a section of Muslims, who form the core vote bank of SP see her as a weak candidate when compared with Dutt, Nafisa said, "It is not fair to select a candidate on the basis of religion, caste or creed. They should be selected on the criteria of vision, capability and accountability".
Ali has her own plans to enhance Lucknow, which includes developing it as an IT hub and a tourist destination besides improving health care and sewage facilities.
"I also want to build the Nargis Dutt cancer hospital in Lucknow and help Sanjay realise his dream", the SP candidate said. Inspite of not getting a Congress ticket this time, the actress said she has has no ill will against the party, saying, "I have high regard for Sonia Gandhi".
On BJP candidate Lalji Tandon attacking her for not speaking Hindi properly, Ali said "I was shocked to hear the way he spoke. He did not have the courtesy to spell my name. A language cannot be a barrier when it comes to serving the people. He is an old stalwart and should not make fun of people. Now I feel that Lucknow needs a change."