Not depending on minority votes alone: Rizwan Arshad

Rizwan Arshad

Congress’ Bangalore Central candidate Rizwan Arshad, 39, kickstarted his poll campaign on Thursday. Arshad is up against the BJP’s incumbent P C Mohan and actor Prakash Raj. While he lost to Mohan in 2014, Arshad tells DH’s Bharath Joshi why he thinks he can win this time around. Excerpts:

* How is this election different from the one you fought in 2014?

2014 was my first election and I had little experience. Also, I encountered a major propaganda by the BJP that people unfortunately believed in. They were promised that black money will be brought back, Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts, jobs for youngsters, smart cities and so on. The people who believed this in 2014 have realised in 2019 that they were conned. They are upset.

* Incumbent MP Mohan is all set to release his report card.

Where was Mohan for the past 10 years? What did he do? The BJP has a knack of faking data just like they did with unemployment and GDP figures. Mohan’s report card will also be fake. The Centre had announced Rs 350 crore to rejuvenate Bellandur lake. Was Mohan sleeping all these years when the Centre said there were no funds for the lake? He’s the most non-performing MP in Bengaluru. If voters decide he is dynamic, it will be Bengaluru’s loss.

* It is said that your victory is dependent on minority votes, which will create a split to benefit the BJP.

I’ve not done my politics on minority or majority. I’m a pluralist. I’m with everybody. My services are for Bengaluru. It is the BJP’s gameplan to divide society. I’m dependent on all 21.6 lakh voters of Bangalore Central.

There’s also the concern that senior Congress legislator R Roshan Baig is miffed with your candidature.

I’ve met him. He has assured full support. He’s a senior Congress leader and I’m the Congress candidate. His constituency Shivajinagar will give me a big lead this time. Last five years, I’ve been around and people recognise me.

* What is your vision for Bangalore Central?

Bangalore Central needs coordination among different agencies. It’s a constituency that’s most neglected. There’s no out-of-the-box idea for development of the IT corridor. It was based on my suggestion that the BBMP announced a permanent fund of Rs 175 crore for the IT corridor.

Actor Prakash Raj says the Congress will eat into his votes. What do you make of his candidature?

My fight is directly with the BJP. My focus is on BJP, the failure of its MP and what I can do. The BJP MP is my competitor. Why should I focus on someone who isn't my competitor?

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Not depending on minority votes alone: Rizwan Arshad

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