Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Interview: Will work for social justice, says Danish Ali MP amidst hate campaigns against him led by PM Modi

As campaigning for the second phase of Lok Sabha polls gains momentum, Kunwar Danish Ali, the sitting MP from the Amroha constituency of Western Uttar Pradesh has once again landed in a political fray. 

From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bahujan Samaj Party Supremo Mayawati to state’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were seen on their toenails to single out or attack him in an attempt to get this one seat.

Ali is contesting on the joint seat of the SP-Congress alliance from Amroha Lok Sabha seat and is in a face-off with BSP’s Mujahid Husain and the BJP’s Kanwar Singh Tanwar.

The sitting MP had represented the BSP in the parliament before he was suspended in January 2023 from the party by Mayawati on an accusation of siding with the Indian National Congress after he faced Islamophobic slurs from a fellow BJP parliamentarian.

Mayawati on Sunday while addressing a rally for the BSP candidate, Mujahid Hussain in Amroha targeting Ali said that he not only betrayed the party but also the people of the constituency.

Ali won the Lok Sabha seat in 2019 for BSP and was expelled over alleged anti-party activities. He later joined the Congress, which fielded him from the constituency.

“The person who won on the BSP ticket did not care for people or their development. He betrayed the people and the party,” Mayawati had said.

Hitting on Ali, PM Narendra Modi on Saturday in Gajraula accused him of having objections in chanting “Bharat Mata ki jai”. “Will a person, who cannot accept Bharat Mata ki jai, look good in the Indian Parliament? Should such a person who does not like to pay gratitude to his motherland be allowed to enter Parliament,” he asked in the rally.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Yogi Adityanath, UP CM held the fourth political meeting in the region.

While addressing the rally, following in Modi’s footsteps Adityanath reiterated the hitting on Ali and said, “They live in India, eat in India, and will not chant Bharat Mata ki Jai, how can this go on! Will you all accept this?”

Maktoob’s Ghazala Ahmad spoke with Kunwar Danish Ali:

There have been multiple direct and indirect attacks on you and your community in the past and present, how do you view this?

What irks all of them is the presence of Danish Ali in the parliament. They all are troubled because I have always stood for the marginalised and had a principled position on the subjects of matter.

While I was in BSP, I have always tried to criticise the party for its shortcomings and on a broader level I was always vocal against the anti-farmers, women and youth sentiment of BJP. I was the first among the few who continuously raised their voice and that’s what they don’t want in the parliament and the party.

My ancestors and I have given our blood for the nation, and yet they question my patriotism and attachment to the country. It’s very sad that a PM of a country would pin the entire election on a particular community or individual.

They should come up with better things to woo the support and seek the votes of people other than polarising the elections by attempting to divide them.

What do you have to say about Mayawati’s accusation of betraying the Party and fielding a Muslim candidate against you? 

BSP has lost its foundation laid by Kanshiram. I had represented Mayawati’s BSP on the floor of parliament as best as I could but the party betrayed me when I needed its support the most. I survived the communal and Islamophobic attacks in the parliament and the party didn’t take any steps.

This shows BSP’s alignment with BJP, which is the reason Behenji didn’t agree to come into the alliance. BSP is the BJP’s ally. Behenji’s accusations and Mojiji’s address substantiate their alliance.

I can say that most matters related to the marginalised groups in the country were brought to my attention in the house on behalf of BSP by me.

However, the candidate fielded by BSP is going to divide the votes. If BSP claims to be independent and fight against BJP they shouldn’t have fielded a candidate that can cut the votes. The BSP candidate can cut the votes but won’t be able to defeat me.

Do you endorse Kanshiram’s idea of BSP and deny Mayawati’s presidency of the party?

I have respect for Kanshiram. BSP’s presidency is their own matter of choice but I think I endorse the constitutional foundation laid by Baba Saheb Ambedkar and we all should follow in the same footsteps. 

How difficult it is for you to now campaign for the SP-Congress alliance, since you were associated with BSP earlier? Are you able to convince people to vote for the alliance?

It is not at all difficult because the people of Amroha are now aware of the BJP’s agenda and they are denying it, which is the reason that the entire leadership of BJP and BSP are frantically visiting the region trying to convince people to subscribe to their ideology. 

Today is the fourth meeting of the CM in Amroha in two weeks. Why are they so scared in this seat? 

I was in BSP, and now I am in Congress but my ethics and moral values are intact, my ideology is the same and I am contesting the elections on the same ideological grounds.

People had voted for me in 2019 and sent me to the 17th Lok Sabha based on my ideology and we will be able to get through again because we are not involved in whataboutery in the name of campaign or discredit anyone. We are contesting elections to address issues of people despite selling hate. 

Our motive is to work for social justice and to ensure a fair equitable environment for every citizen of the country.   

Will you get the sympathy vote of Muslims because you have been a survivor of Islamophobia and communalism?

No, I am not selling the victimhood, whatever happened is shameful in a democratic country built on equal blood and hard work of Muslims. I will get the vote for my work in previous years and the ideological foundation.

The main motive in this election is to save the country, the foundation of the constitution on which this nation is built and not let fascism eat it.

My fight is against everyone who is against the idea of India and the nation Baba Saheb dreamt of. 

What are the issues you are contesting your elections around? 

The issues of people are our issues. Saving democracy is the collective motive of the nation right now and we are pushing the same issue in this election. Unemployment is another major problem which we will look into. Women were harassed and disrespected in the BJP rule, we will ensure them their dignified and rightful rights. The education system was brought down to the ground by the ruling regime, we will work towards reviving it. 

Apart from this, my mood is to work in the direction of infrastructural development of my region and I will put it forward before the party. 

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