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Respect Maya, but Akash Anand is immature: Azad

In this interview, Azad tells DH’s Sumit Pande that he respects Mayawati, but her nephew Akash Anand is immature to have questioned the credibility of a leader like him who has risen the ranks through hard work and struggle.
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 00:26 IST
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 00:26 IST

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After Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) lacklustre performance in the past two Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, Azad Samaj Party’s (Kanshi Ram) Chandrashekhar Azad has sought to project himself as a new generation Dalit leader in Uttar Pradesh. Azad is contesting this election from the Nagina LS seat, which is the party of the Bijnor district in western UP. In this interview, Azad tells DH’s Sumit Pande that he respects Mayawati, but her nephew Akash Anand is immature to have questioned the credibility of a leader like him who has risen the ranks through hard work and struggle. 

What are the issues you are raising before the people in this election?

Whether it is Nagina or elsewhere, unemployment is the biggest issue this election. You go to any part of the country, you will find someone from Bijnor who has had to migrate in search of a job. People don’t have land or sustainable businesses. 

Then inflation is another issue. It’s a huge burden on the women managing the household. In Nagina, one local issue that affects all is the damage caused by floods every year during the monsoons. The quality of underground water has deteriorated, and the government is not paying any heed to the issue. 

But why is it that, despite being represented by some high-profile leaders like Mayawati and Meira Kumar, Bijnor and Nagina remain underdeveloped?

There is darkness right under the lamp. It is because of the neglect shown by these leaders that we are facing the current situation. In this constituency, women in particular have no employment opportunities, especially in cottage industries. Stray animals are a menace to farmers. As in any part of UP, there is no respite for the poor who approach the police. Government officers conduct themselves like kings. 

Muslims are in large numbers in this seat. And you would be competing for this constituency with the SP and BSP?

Please speak to people, and you will get independent feedback. I’m confident that minority votes will not split. And not just minorities; there shall not be a split in any other community. 

BSP leader and Mayawati’s nephew, Aakash Anand, who now appears to be the heir apparent in the party, at a rally in Nagina alleged that you are misguiding the Dalit youths, and despite repeated efforts, you could not secure a seat for yourself in the I.N.D.I.A. bloc.

Aakash is like my younger brother, and he is immature (nadaan). He hasn’t had much experience in this world. He will take a long time. He hasn’t been out much in the field. We always respect Behen Mayawati and Manyavar Kanshi Ram Saheb. They are my gurus. But Aakash is a little immature, and people surrounding him who make him say such things are damaging his credibility within the community. 

Because if you make such baseless allegations against someone, whether you like him or not, who has risen through struggle and mass movements, the community does not like it. 

But it is a fact that you were not able to strike an alliance with any party; you were speaking to the I.N.D.I.A. bloc.

I already have an alliance with the people. There are three alliances in Nagina: the NDA alliance, I.N.D.I.A. alliance, and the third is the Janata alliance. We are contesting this election on the platform of the Nagina Janata Alliance, and we are getting a tremendous response.

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Published 13 April 2024, 00:26 IST

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