January 26, 2017 3:17:53 am
After a decade with the Congress, what prompted you to leave the party and move to All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen? Were you denied a ticket from the ward you represented for four terms?
I have represented the area that is currently under Ward 223 for the past 20 years. The people, especially those living in the slums, told me that they needed me to continue to be there for them. The Congress, however, was being very ambiguous about its plans and refused to give me a ticket from the area where I have worked for many years. There was a growing rumour that Dnyanraj Nikam’s daughter would contest from my ward. They kept asking me to consider contesting from Dharavi, Malad and other areas where I have never worked and where people don’t know me. The decision to move to MIM was a sudden one. They approached me around 8-10 days ago and I agreed to join their party. In my mind, I thought Congress would leave me in the lurch at the last minute and I needed to do what was best for the people who have long supported me. No one from the Congress gave me any assurance when I was leaving and even after so many days, I have not received any calls from them.
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Before the Congress, you were also a corporator with the Samajwadi Party. Why did you choose to switch to AIMIM now?
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AIMIM as a party has secular views and has also recently given tickets to two Hindu women too. They speak for the people of the area and not only for the members for a particular religious community. As a corporator, we cannot survive without the support of everyone living in the area and it is therefore our duty to serve all communities equally. For the last 20 years, I have been involved in the most trivial problems of anyone who came to me and the administration addresses those problems.
What do you think of the allegations that the secular parties contesting alone could give the BJP-Sena an easy victory?
All political parties have different ideologies and they take a decision of whether to form an alliance or not on the basis of what is good for the people they serve. I cannot predict what will happen and time alone shall tell if they will help BJP-Sena to win by contesting individually.
There is a lot of the infighting in the Congress. Is Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam’s leadership to blame?
There is such an opinion among the members of Congress. But I’m more concerned with the welfare of the people and the party I’m moving to. Besides, such discussions happen between the leaders of the party. I am just a worker who wanted to work for the welfare of the people whose trust I have earned over the years.
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