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People want change, Samajwadi Party and Congress will win big in Uttar Pradesh: Javed Ali Khan on LS polls

Senior Rajya Sabha MP Javed Ali Khan was one of the negotiators for the Samajwadi Party for its talks with the Congress. He spoke to DH’s Shemin Joy on the emerging political scenario in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Last Updated 24 February 2024, 02:26 IST

Senior Rajya Sabha MP Javed Ali Khan was one of the negotiators for the Samajwadi Party for its talks with the Congress. He spoke to DH’s Shemin Joy on the emerging political scenario in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Excerpts:

The SP and Congress have concluded seat-sharing negotiations in UP. How confident are you about the Lok Sabha elections?

The people across the country, not just in UP, are fed up with the BJP’s policies. The common man has no respite from price rises, corruption, and unemployment. People are in a mood to change the government. Our alliance will give a tough fight in each of the 80 seats in UP and ensure that the BJP will not be able to repeat its performance. We will win big.

The BJP is confident that they are going to increase from their tally of 62 seats in UP. They are eyeing all 80 seats. How do you see that?

It is just a political statement to motivate the BJP cadre. They make such statements. But the ground reality is different. The BJP has not performed on any front, whether it is job creation or containing price rise. Their performance on issues linked to the common man is a big zero. So, there is no question of BJP repeating its earlier performance.

But you have suffered a setback in RLD switching sides. How will this impact you?

RLD did not win a single seat in the last two Lok Sabha elections. They had just one seat in the Assembly, and it rose to nine, including one won in a bypoll, only after it entered into an alliance with us. The alliance with us was beneficial to the RLD. Their switch to the BJP side is coming at a time when the farmers are protesting. They call themselves a farmers' party. I don't think RLD’s departure will have an impact on us as they are ditching the farmers at a critical juncture.

You were part of the negotiations with Congress. However, there has been a complaint that Congress was delaying the process. Why did it take so long?

You have to see that the I.N.D.I.A. bloc has not concluded negotiations in any state. But in UP, we have an arrangement in place even before the election schedule is announced. The NDA has not even started negotiations.

Your previous alliance with Congress did not benefit you, so was the case in 2019 when you aligned with BSP and RLD. What is the difference this time?

All elections are different. This time, people are in a mood for change. There is a lot of anger among youth and farmers against the BJP. Traders and government employees are also upset with the BJP. Ten years is a long period, but the performance remains zero. There will be a change in UP and the SP-Congress alliance will benefit from it.

Can BSP still pose a challenge and upset your calculations?

After coming out of our alliance five years ago, the BSP is supporting the BJP in one way or the other, inside and outside Parliament. There has never been a discussion within I.N.D.I.A. to include BSP. No one ever felt such a need. Mayawati has been publicly saying that BSP will fight alone but BSP leaders plant reports in the media that there are talks about joining I.N.D.I.A. BSP has no relevance and won’t win a single seat.

How will the protest by the farmers impact the Lok Sabha campaign?

The Modi government has not addressed the issues raised by farmers. The promises given to them have not been implemented. The committee formed to implement providing legal guarantees for the Minimum Support Price (MSP) has not even met. They are trying to commercialise agriculture for the benefit of corporates. The BJP is harming the interests of farmers for the benefit of private players. All these will have a negative impact on the BJP.

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(Published 24 February 2024, 02:26 IST)

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