Samajwadi Party state president Abu Asim Azmi speaks to The Indian Express about the reasons why he is breaking away from the Congress-NCP alliance, why he feels betrayed by the Congress and how state Congress leaders have been made powerless by the Congress high command.
What is the status of your alliance with the Congress-NCP?
The Congress has betrayed us. I wanted to fight elections on 57 seats. It was only because of my concern that secular votes should not get divided that I agreed to join hands with the Congress.
After an initial discussion of seven seats, we mutually arrived at a decision that the SP would fight three seats as part of the alliance. These seats were Bhiwandi East, Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar and Aurangabad East.
In spite of allocating these seats, the Congress leaders wanted me to let go of my claim on these seats. They have now fielded their own candidate in Bhiwandi East.
Their unit in Aurangabad is not supporting us, and in Mankhurd too, they had asked an NCP corporator to file his nomination, which was later withdrawn.
So is the alliance off?
It definitely is off. The Congress leaders lied and kept me on tenterhooks till the last minute saying that they would not betray me. Had I known of their plan, I would have fielded many more candidates.
On the last day of filing nominations when I realised the Congress gameplan, I distributed AB forms to my party workers as well. However, many of them could not file their nominations because of the last-minute rush. We are now contesting on seven seats across Maharashtra.
Why do you think the Congress did what it did?
There is an Urdu couplet, “Khuub parda hai ki chilman se lage baithe hain. Saaf chhupte bhi nahin samne aate bhi nahin”. It sums up the character of the Congress.
They claim they are secular but in Bhiwandi East they have allotted ticket to a BJP and RSS worker, who openly distributed sweets after the ban on triple talaq and celebrated the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
They used to term him communal but he has now become secular after joining the Congress. I do not know whether they are interested in fighting the BJP or are working to ensure a win for the BJP.
Who do you blame more for the breaking of this alliance with you. The Congress or the NCP?
I have no problem with the NCP. I fully blame Congress leaders for this fiasco and betrayal. Congress leaders cannot take a decision without the approval of their bosses in Delhi. This in spite the fact that their state leaders have more political experience than both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress leaders in Delhi are still living under the illusion that they will come here, raise their hands in the air at a rally and people will vote for them.
They do not realise that the days of Indira Gandhi are over. They state Congress leaders have been made servants by Delhi and that is why the party is imploding.