Hailing from an ordinary background, who caught the eye of AICC president Rahul Gandhi, state youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad has the responsibility of wresting the seat held by BJP since 2004 and also prove to the state Congress leadership that winnability exists among the youngsters too.
Was it a sportive gesture on Congress veteran C K Jaffer Sharief to sulk and plan to quit the party, when he failed to get the Bangalore Central Lok Sabha ticket?
He is a senior and aged leader, I would not like to comment on whether it was sportive or not. But the duty of every senior political leader is to develop a second and third line leadership. Today its time Sharief also develops a second level leadership. I am sure he will fulfill this duty of giving an opportunity to the next generation.
With all Muslim legislators and leaders in the party petitioning the Congress high command in favour of former MP C K Jaffer Sharief, how do you plan to win them now?
The Congress party does not function on what a single community says. My candidature was recommended by chief minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president G Parameshwara. I have met senior leaders in my party to seek their support. There’s a big generational change happening under AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who wants to provide opportunities to the youth hailing from ordinary background.
Bangalore Central has been having candidates across parties, who were senior in age, as an younster, how will you connect with voters?
Bangalore Central is a constituency with youngsters. Of the 17.96 lakh voters here, 45% are under 35 years. And when I meet the seniors they have been saying that they wanted a young candidate to contest.
What are the major issues to be tackled in Bangalore Central ?
This is a constituency, which is the heart line of Bangalore as we have the Whitefield IT corridor. Its one of the oldest and attracts the maximum traffic with people criss-crosing from various points. For the last five to seven years there has bee no special focus on central part of Bangalore, which we need to prepare for futue challenges. Reason: Bangalore is going to compete with citiesoverseas. For this purpose CM Siddaramaiah constituted the Vision Group.
Unlike other communities like the Vokkaligas and Lingayats, why has the Muslim community not been able to project a single leader pan parties?
Its a very sensitive question. Among other communities, if they have singular leaders, the Muslim community cuts across parties to vote. The reason is for a Lok Sabha poll not more than two Muslims get the ticket and in assembly elections about 20-25 candidates. In the rest of the Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies the Muslims vote for candidates of other communities. Therefore no Muslim leader can say he owns the community.
Having contested two elections for the youth Congress polls, how does it feel to be catapulted into a Lok Sabha election?
Both are tough. In the youth Congress polls, we need to convince the youngsters to become members. Then these members have to become delegates who become the electoral college. Its a tedious process. In the assembly or Lok Sabha elections the voters’ list will be ready and we have a defined boundary. Huge manpower is required and you need to convince the people to vote for you.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> Specials / by Naheed Ataulla, TNN / March 17th, 2014