Interview| We are targeting 14 LS seats from Telangana; our fight is with BJP: Congress’ Mansoor Ali Khan

Congress is looking at winning 14 Lok Sabha seats and the criteria to select the candidate is their ability to win

By Kaniza Garari  Published on  18 Jan 2024 5:44 AM GMT
Interview| We are targeting 14 LS seats from Telangana; our fight is with BJP: Congress’ Mansoor Ali Khan

Hyderabad: With the 2024 Lok Sabha polls just months away, Telangana Congress said its fight is directly with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Congress said Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is now a ‘fair weather’ party.

In an interview with NewsMeter, Mansoor Ali Khan, in charge of Telangana and general secretary of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee discussed in detail about party’s strategy in the parliamentary party.

The soft-spoken Khan from Karnataka is an educationist and a ‘man of few words’. Surrounded by those who are now vying for different government posts, he is quick to point out that people in Greater Hyderabad and Hyderabad have not voted for the Congress. However, they are now claiming to have done so.

NM: What lessons have you learnt from Telangana assembly elections? Are you going to make a new start? Will it be applied in the selection process of candidates for Lok Sabha 2024?

MK. Lok Sabha 2024 is a fight between BJP and Congress only. BRS is now a ‘fair weather party’ and it is ultimately going to support the BJP. So, those who voted for BRS will now shift to BJP. Yes, Greater Hyderabad, Hyderabad (Old City), and Northern Telangana Congress have not done well and we are working on it. If you look at the applications for Praja Palana (TS government program) the highest are from the city. In the three-way fight in the city, Congress has lost. But that will not be so in Lok Sabha. In Northern Telangana, it is the proximity to the Maharashtra border. There are mistakes that we are looking into and working on them.

NM: Will you adopt the same model of surveys, used during assembly polls, for granting tickets in Lok Sabha elections?

MK: The criteria of the candidate will be his/her ability to win. Winning the election is the most important aspect. So like assembly elections, the due diligence in terms of surveys and assessment of candidates will be done. Based on that, the party will decide.

NM: There has been a lot of discontent during assembly elections too where those who worked for the party for a long time, were denied tickets. That led to some leaving and others had to be cajoled. How are you going to deal with them?

MK: In Lok Sabha, we are looking at 14 seats from Telangana. For that, we want electables. The elections in South India are fought on various fronts and the candidate has to be strong on the ground and also able to campaign as required. If the survey says that the candidate will win, the ticket will be issued. There is now a set method and that will be followed. Those who are not happy are being given positions, but right now our focus is on winning the seats.

NM: Are youth and women going to be given a fair chance?

MK: We want youth and women to contest and are looking at probable candidates.

NM: What about Hyderabad parliamentary seat?

MK: In Hyderabad, our focus is going to be to deal with mafia and bogus voting. We have asked party workers and assembly representatives to work on it. In Nampally, Feroze Khan has worked hard and showed that bogus voting can be controlled. We want others to take it up and work on it.

NM: Will Congress have a tie-up with Majlis Bachao Tahreek for Hyderabad seat?

MK: We will see. Our focus on Hyderabad seat is going to be based on the problems that were seen during the election process. The seat of Hyderabad will be dealt with differently.

NM: Muslim representation in Telangana is high but the Congress government has not given any post to the community leader. How will this be dealt with? For the Lok Sabha elections, will there be adequate Muslim representation?

MK: The Psyche of Muslims in India is more of receivers than givers. When you give, you get respect. What happened in Hyderabad? Did the Muslims unite and vote for the Congress party? Had they done so, we could have easily got four seats in the city. Now all those who are coming to Gandhi Bhawan from Hyderabad and saying that we voted for Congress party, how do we believe them? The numbers tell us a different story. But in Lok Sabha elections, we are confident that Muslims will vote for Congress. There is no other party that can take up the issues of Muslims or any other minorities at the center.

NM: Is the Congress also working on having a first and second line of Muslim leaders in the state and the country?

MK: We are trying for leaders but there is resistance. You cannot get into politics and say that you don’t want your hands to get dirty. The need is for a good set of leaders. As a community, there must be leaders.

NM: Ram Mandir issue will dominate Lok Sabha elections? How is Congress going to deal with it?

MK: The party stand is out in the open. We do not mix religion with politics. We want to address the issues of the people of this country.

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