Bollywood actor and Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate from Lucknow Jaaved Jaaferi is reluctant to play the minority card in the constituency, claiming he is not a “Muslim candidate” but an “Indian candidate”. Jaaferi reached Lucknow Friday.
Jaaferi said he does not like the word “minority” as “everyone is equal in this country.”
Jaaferi’s candidature is seen as AAP’s move to attract Muslims, particularly the Shias, in Lucknow where all other major parties have fielded non-Muslims.
Shias in Lucknow are traditional supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has fielded party national president Rajnath Singh from the constituency.
“Main Muslim candidate nahi, Hindustani candidate hoon (I am not a Muslim candidate but an Indian candidate),” claimed Jaaferi at a press conference.
In an attempt to distance himself from the Muslim identity, he said he was pained when the Sikhs were targeted in the 1984 riots and when the Christians were attacked was targeted in Orissa.
On being asked that he is not from Lucknow, the actor said that none of the other candidates are from Lucknow either. “This is true for all the parties. Neither is Rajnath Singh nor Congress candidate Rita Joshi is from Lucknow, neither is Modiji (BJP PM candidate and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi) from Varanasi,” Jaaferi told the media persons.
About Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s legacy of Lucknow, Jaaferi said he respects the former PM but the constituency is no one’s inheritance and should not be treated as one.
Lucknow is not a cakewalk because senior politicians are fighting from the constituency, but he is fighting for an ideology, said the AAP candidate, adding even if he loses the election, he will work with the AAP in Lucknow.
Earlier, Jaaferi sat on a peaceful protest at Amausi airport for more than an hour along with other party members protesting against the delay in permission from the district administration to hold the road show in Lucknow.
Jaaferi was granted permission around 12 noon, after which he began his road show from Amausi, waving at and saluting people and meeting party workers, and concluded it at Shaheed Smarak. He was also seen drinking lemonade at a street vendor’s shop in Hazratganj.
Jaaferi is to file his nominations on April 7 and is expected to camp in Lucknow till the elections.
Stressing that his election strategy would be to target communalism and corruption, Jaaferi said the delay in party’s decision to field him from Lucknow would not hamper his perspectives in any way. He also denied there is any resentment in the party at his selection.
He was fielded from Lucknow as there was not seat left in Mumbai for him, he said.