Elections 2019: We want a non-Congress, non-BJP government, says AIMIM MLA Imtiyaz Jaleel

Updated: Apr 11, 2019, 19:32 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Aurangabad

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen's Aurangabad MLA Imtiyaz Jaleel, a first-time contender to the Lok Sabha, speaks of his party's reasons behind the move and Sena's failure in the region

MLA Imtiyaz Jaleel
MLA Imtiyaz Jaleel

While the fight is between the Congress and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in Telangana, the party headed by Asaduddin Owaisi may support the Congress at the Centre to counter the BJP, said AIMIM MLA Imtiyaz Jaleel from Aurangabad, Maharashtra. The party is contesting a parliamentary seat in Maharashtra for the first time with Jaleel being its contender. He will take on four-time sitting MP Chandrakant Khaire of the Shiv Sena in Aurangabad.

The journalist-turned-politician told mid-day that his party would ideally want a non-Congress and non-BJP government but if things don't work that way, his party could extend support to the Congress. Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi headed by Prakash Ambedkar has inked an alliance with the AIMIM.

What is the reason that party decided to field a candidate for the Lok Sabha from Maharashtra?
The AIMIM decided to contest elections as people are looking for an alternative to the traditional Congress and BJP who have always disappointed the voters.

How do you see this fight and where do you stand in this election?
The sitting Sena MP has represented the constituency four times and is contesting for the fifth term. But in the last 20 years, there has hardly been any development here. Be it the roads or water issues, nothing has been addressed. I openly challenge him to showcase 10 achievements of his team in the two decades.

AIMIM is being called team B of the BJP. Many in the Congress are claiming that division of secular votes will only help the BJP and its allies.
The AIMIM did not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the Congress was still wiped out. The result of last elections is a clear answer to those leveling team B charges against the AIMIM. Till the time a particular community votes for the Congress or any secular party, everyone is okay with it. But the moment the same community takes a stand to create its own identity, the blame game begins.

Was this the reason behind not allying with the Congress?
Why should the community be looked upon merely as a vote bank? Those who want our votes should also think of letting us represent ourselves in electoral politics.

What made you to take the plunge into active politics?
As a journalist, I have always highlighted various issues like other media persons do. But I thought instead of telling the system what is wrong with it, I would better be a part of the system and make changes in it myself.

Do you think the Modi wave will work again?
I think no party will get a clear majority. It will be a hung parliament and regional parties will have more say. It is too early to make a specific comment. But if required, we will support the Congress at the Centre to keep the BJP away.

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