“Dutt is not a criminal. I know him since his childhood. He was not even involved in 1992-93 Mumbai bomb blasts,” Azmi told reporters in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Asked reason behind his party offering Lok Sabha ticket to the actor,Azmi said,”Congress has done injustice to Dutt and therefore Samajwadi Party has announced his name.”
Dutt’s candidature was announced last week by SP General Secretary Amar Singh,who said if Dutt was barred from contesting elections because of the criminal cases against him the party would move the Election Commission or the Supreme Court.
Accusing the Congress of delaying the decision over pre-poll alliance,Azmi said the party would wait for two more days for Congress’ response.
“We will wait till January 15 for the Congress to reply,but our party is firm on contesting five seats in Mumbai,including south,south-central,north-central,north-west,” he said.
Other seats which SP wants to contest in Maharashtra include Malegaon,Yavatmal,Aurangabad,Bhiwandi and Thane. Azmi said he wanted to contest Lok Sabha election from Mumbai’s north-west constituency “despite the party workers’ pressurising him to contest from UP”.