Internal factionalism among party members will not affect Congress in Lok Sabha Elections: Sanjay Nirupam on Issue Kya Hai

In an exclusive conversation with Mumbai Live, Indian National Congress' candidate for Mumbai North West, Sanjay Nirupam, shares his thoughts on what the Lok Sabha 2019 elections mean to him.

  • Internal factionalism among party members will not affect Congress in Lok Sabha Elections: Sanjay Nirupam on Issue Kya Hai

Mumbai is home to many people, from all walks of life, who have come here in search of a job, to make their lives better. A large portion of the population comprises of the community fondly called Uttar Bharatiya (People from the north), and they strongly believe in Sanjay Nirupam. He is contesting for the party from Mumbai North-West constituency, against Shiv Sena's Gajanan Kirtikar.

In a conversation with Mumbai Live, Nirupam shares thoughts on his strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019. We began by understanding the fundamental question we have for every leader. That is to know the issue, to which he quickly replied by saying, "We conducted a survey recently and found out that the lack of basic amenities in the city is the issue. People want us to focus on civic concerns related to roads, traffic, water, and many others. Public wants us to focus on cleanliness. These issues don't have a direct impact on Lok Sabha Elections, but the people want these fundamental problems solved."

Throwing more light on the responsibility, he added, "These basic amenities need to be provided by the local municipality, which for the last 30 years, is being ruled by Shiv Sena and BJP. But sadly, they have not been successful in keeping the Mumbaikars happy, which means they have totally failed in their governance, and such parties do not deserve the rightful opportunity to be elected again."

He has been a popular political personality in Mumbai, for many years now, and was the face of Mumbai Congress, until two months back, when he was replaced by Milind Deora. On being asked if this affects his prospects, Nirupam said, "I don't think so. You have to be realistic, and one needs to focus thoroughly during the elections. I would not have gotten a chance to focus as much as I'm able to do now, and today I'm happy that I'm able to connect with the people, making the campaigns successful. Every day we focus on connecting 70,000-80,000 people, with a target to reach 18 lakh voters over a span of 20 days."

It has been reported that party members from Congress have been facing issues with each other. But answering if this could hamper the elections for them, he said, "The party had Internal factionalism even during the independence. Back during those days, if we were able to send the Britishers back, then the problems we face internally today are way too small. With such petty issues, we can definitely beat the opposition. Every party member has only one focus, and that is to win."

It has been observed that MNS chief Raj Thackeray is in support of Congress, but has refused to campaign for Nirupam. Sharing his views about the same, he said, "That is his decision and I welcome it. I have not asked him to campaign for me, and I respect his decision. Today, Mumbai has people from all parts of the country, and they are all going to cast their votes. I believe that as per the constitution, every citizen is allowed to earn bread by working in any part of the nation. No one should differentiate based on caste, creed or religion, and this is my thought. I have always and will stand by it. But if one wants me to support with an aim to defeat Modi and his team, then I welcome them. If they don't wish to support, then I respect their decision. I will only focus and contest based on the ideologies I believe in."

During his campaign, Nirupam also interacted with the youth to understand their problems, and learned that the youngsters are mainly bothered about their jobs. Adding more to this he said, "During my interaction with the youngsters, I was told about the four problems they want the solutions to. Youth in Mumbai are worried about jobs, skilling, free wifi, and Drugs. They also informed that there are no skill development programs run in the city, and the Skill India program is only on papers." 

Diversity has been a part of Mumbai since decades. Over the years, candidates have been given opportunities to represent their community in politics. But on being questioned on if this will act as an advantage for him, and help him receive votes from his people, Nirupam said, "The voting pattern in India hasn't changed in the last 70 years. It is true that many people in our country vote based on the community the candidate belongs to, and there is a similarity in Mumbai. Despite working for everybody in the city, including Maharashtrians, the opposition always plans a strategy by stating that I'm not a Maharashtrian and I do not work for them. Hence I suggested a Maharashtrian candidate who can connect with the people in Mumbai North, and today you can see the results with Urmila Matondkar's campaigns. She is giving a tough fight to Gopal Shetty."

Nirupam's strategy has worked for him, many times, over the last few years. But will he be able to make a mark once again opposite the candidate from Sena? Time will tell...

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