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‘Will take oath in Hindi,but certainly learn Marathi’

A day after facing criticism from the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for him rooting for Hindi,Samajwadi state chief Abu Azmi is till firm on taking oath in Hindi. “I respect Marathi,but would take the oath in Hindi.

Written by Prashant Rangnekar | Mumbai |
November 4, 2009 11:41:37 pm

A day after facing criticism from the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for him rooting for Hindi,Samajwadi state chief Abu Azmi is till firm on taking oath in Hindi. “I respect Marathi,but would take the oath in Hindi. Apart from familiarity with the language,I do not want to succumb to pressures of Raj Thackeray and look as if I am scared,” he said.

Azmi has always been on loggerheads with the Shiv Sena and the MNS over issues related to the Marathi language. “Hindi is the national language and I would settle for Hindi. But on the other hand,I would also like to learn Marathi as it is the state language. In fact,Urdu should also be added as a state language as the Deccan plateau (most of it is in Maharashtra) have Urdu-speaking people.”

Interestingly,when Newsline visited his office in Colaba,Azmi was reading a book on Constitution of India.

Azmi,who first became a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh in 2002,had unsuccessfully contested from Bhiwandi seat in 2004 assembly elections and the Northwest Mumbai constituency in the Lok Sabha elections. But he hit a double jackpot when he settled scores with Yogesh Patil,Sena MLA from Bhiwandi,by winning from Bhiwandi East and also wrested Shivaji Nagar-Mankhurd seat,a traditional Congress bastion. He has to vacate one of these seats and he says,“I have not decided on the seat I would be vacating.”

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Sources,however,said it would be difficult for the party to retain the seat if Azmi vacates Shivaji Nagar-Mankhurd. “It is for the first time that the party has won a seat in Mumbai and it is prestigious and the party cannot afford losing this seat to the Congress.”

Azmi also did not deny the chances of his son Farhan entering politics. “If there is a request from people,this option cannot be ruled out.”

His constituencies are,however,ones in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) that needs more infrastructure development and basic amenities. For example,the Shivaji Nagar-Mankhurd constituency faces acute water shortage. “Water is the basic need of any human being. I am going to put pressure on the government to resolve the problem at the earliest and also urge it to crack down on the water mafia. For Bhiwandi,I have spoken to the MLAs of Ichalkarnaji and Malegaon to jointly talk to the government about the power problem in the cities.”

He also plans to demand 400-sq ft houses for the slumdwellers in Shivaji Nagar-Mankhurd who are handing over their land for the slum rehabilitation scheme. “Life for the people in Shivaji Nagar is worse than a dog’s life and by giving them a better house,it can be improved to an extent.”

When asked about whether the Opposition would come together to corner the government,he says,“I can never align with the Shiv Sena-BJP or the MNS even when I am in the Opposition.”

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