Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, the BJP’s candidate from Northeast parliamentary constituency, had joined the party last year ahead of the assembly elections.
Tiwari is banking on the support of Purvanchali voters, a sizeable population in the constituency. Exuding confidence that the party would win all seven seats in Delhi, Tiwari said that there was a huge Modi wave across the country.
You had earlier contested on the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) ticket from Gorakhpur, but then you decided to join the BJP. Why?
I had not joined SP formally, but when Amar Singhji asked me to contest, I couldn’t say no. I thought my stardom was an asset but when I lost the elections, I realised you have to understand the pulse of the voters. I decided to join the BJP four years after losing the elections. I understand people want development and not a star.
There were protests after your candidature was announced.
I had come to Delhi in 1992 in search of a job. I stayed in Yamuna Bazaar for almost seven years. I understand the aspirations of people, so the outsider tag does not apply to me. I know people might be apprehensive of the fact that I am a singer and actor and hence might not be able to give time to the constituency, but I want to assure them that I will be available to them whenever they need me.
The northeast constituency has a sizeable number of Purvanchali voters. Is this why the BJP has fielded you?
I hail from Bihar and I am a proud Purvanchali. I am one of the few people who raised their voice against Raj Thackeray when he targeted north Indians in Mumbai. So people, especially Purvanchalis, recognise me as a person who will work for their welfare.
What are the key issues?
I have been reaching out to the voters and highlighting the 10 years of misgovernance of the Congress. There are still not enough flyovers though plans have been cleared on papers. Metro connectivity is another major issue.
You are pitted against Congress’ JP Agarwal and AAP’s Anand Kumar.
He (Agarwal) might be a tall figure for the Congress but he is nothing for the people and for me. I am confident of winning by a huge margin. People have seen the AAP’s work in the 49 days of misrule so their campaigning is not going to help them at all.