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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

‘Would have responded to Pulwama in 40 seconds’: Azam Khan

In an interview with Hindustan Times, he says he wants to ask Pakistan why no funeral was held for those killed in the Indian air strike in Balakot and that the country is passing through one of the worst phases of communal disharmony.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 28, 2019 08:45 IST

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nine-time MLA from Rampur Azam Khan
Nine-time MLA from Rampur Azam Khan(PTI file photo)
         

Nine-time MLA from Rampur Azam Khan is fighting his first Lok Sabha election from his home turf, and is pitted against former Rampur MP Jaya Prada, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday. In an interview with Hindustan Times, he says he wants to ask Pakistan why no funeral was held for those killed in the Indian air strike in Balakot and that the country is passing through one of the worst phases of communal disharmony. Excerpts:

Q: There is a perception that the BJP’s chances of retaining power have improved after the air strike in Pakistan.

A: I am not questioning our government on the attacks in Pakistan. Rather, I want to know from Pakistan why no funerals were held for over 300 persons who, according to the BJP, were killed in Indian airstrikes. I also believe that our government delayed the response to the Pulwama attack. Had I been the prime minister, I would not have taken more than 40 seconds to respond.

Q: Considering this is the first time you will contest the Lok Sabha election, how big a challenge is it?

A: Contesting an election is always a challenge. The Samajwadi Party has a considerable vote base in the district. It doesn’t matter who contests from the BJP, because the party has lost the trust of the public.

Q: What about Shivpal Yadav? What impact will his party have on the election?

A: A party is made by the workers who put blood and sweat into it. SP workers are feeling cheated by Shivpal Yadav’s defection and it will harm him.

Q: Did you meet SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav? Will you invite him to campaign for you?

A: No, I didn’t get time to meet netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) recently. I don’t have any differences with him, but I am against his wish for Narendra Modi to become PM.

Q: How many seats do you expect the BJP and the SP-BSP-RLD alliance to get in UP?

A: Considering the despair and anger among the public against the BJP, even by conservative estimates the alliance in UP will win between 65-70 seats.

Q: Do you think Congress candidates will disturb the Muslim vote base of the alliance?

A: It may have been a possibility a decade ago but times have changed now.

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 06:38 IST