A leader of the minorities, Siddiqullah Chowdhury of Jamate Ulema-e-Hind is a significant player in Bengal politics. He was with the Congress before tying up with Mamata Banerjee for a brief period. On the eve of the Assembly polls, he has joined the United Secular Democratic Front (USDF), in which Congress was a major partner. When Congress got a raw deal from the Trinamool over seat-sharing, Siddiqullah was forced to abandon the Congress again and announce the USDF candidate list.
Despite forming the USDF with Congress, why did you break away and field 147 candidates on your own?
The USDF was launched in February with the Congress, PDCI, PDS, RPI and a few other smaller parties. The Front partners had demanded at least 20 per cent seats. But the Congress formed an alliance with Trinamool, keeping USDF members in the dark. We didn't break away. The Congress broke away from USDF.
USDF has fielded only 147 candidates. What about other constituencies? Will you field more candidates?
We have just released the first list. Discussions are on with other USDF members. We will field more candidates. But we have intention to contest all 294 seats just to oppose the Congress or Trinamool. We will contest only those seats where we enjoy public support.
If you don't have plans to contest all seats will you ask voters to vote for former allies like Congress?
Our main aim is to oust the Left Front. We intend to show the voters the path. Let the time come and you will get to know.
At a time when Trinamool and the Congress have formed an alliance do you really think USDF will make any difference?
In a democratic set up only USDF will make a difference since it has a number of small parties that stay close to the people. USDF will be a deciding factor after the election results are announced. Neither the Congress-Trinamool alliance nor the Left Front would be able to form government by their own. They will need us.
Left Front leaders, including chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, are accepting their faults and asking for forgiveness. Do you think this will help them?
We don't think so. Voters are intelligent and know the difference between real tears and crocodile tears. Last minute regrets won't help. And even if some supporters make a comeback their number will be negligible.