New Delhi: Late Congress leader Ahmed Patel's daughter, Mumtaz Patel, who has been elected as AICC member, hit out at the BJP, saying that the divide is much deeper today as there has been a deliberate attempt by the current ruling dispensation probably to grab the power.
However, she asserted that the Congress is the only party that can eventually deliver on the ground.
During an interview with IANS, Mumtaz Patel said that being elected to AICC was an emotional moment for her and she will be working from Gujarat's Bharuch which was her father's constituency.
IANS: This is the first plenary session after the passing away of your father Ahmed Patel. How you see this after you have been elected as AICC member?
Mumtaz Patel: Of course, this is my first plenary session. I have always been seen as his daughter. But, to be here as the official member of Congress, this is a very emotional feeling for me as I genuinely relate to the party's ideology. In one sense, this is like home for me because we have grown up in the Congress family fold.
IANS: You are fit for 50 per cent reservation as you fall under 50 age category of youth, minorities and women for being party members. How you see this reservation and how far Congress will able to deliver this?
Mumtaz Patel: I have full faith in the resolution which has been passed here at the 85th plenary sessions. Congress has always been advocated for the women reservation bill. And, if I am not mistaken, the women representation we have in the party is more than any other party has. We have Mahila Congress wing also, so Congress has always given that kind of chances to women and Rahul ji has always spoken about youths to be involved more and more in the party and has taken many steps over the year in this direction. So, I am hopeful that it will be implemented. For those young party workers who believe in party's ideology and want to work hard for the party, it will be a chance for them to rise.
IANS: As you have been shifted to Gujarat politics where Congress is not in good position. What Mumtaz Patel wants to achieve as young leader of the party in state?
Mumtaz Patel: More before anything else, as a citizen of the country, I definitely relate to the Congress ideology and think this is the only ideology that fits towards the right of the people. Somewhere down the line, of course there have been some shortcomings and the things have changed from how they were earlier in terms of the politics of the country, not in Congress. Politics of today is very different from the earlier as the mindset of the people have changed. We have to bring back the same grand old party that was connected to the ground.
The caste, religion have always been prevalent on the ground, but that divide is much deeper today as there has been a deliberate attempt by the current dispensation probably to save power. I am hopeful with all the new resolutions that are being adopted as well as continuing to stick to what we believe that is unity in diversity. I think Congress is the only party that can eventually deliver on the ground.
IANS: But challenges in Gujarat are different as the party has been facing aggressive Hindutva politics for many decades. How do you think Congress will be able to defeat BJP?
Mumtaz Patel: Bharuch, which was my father's constituency in the south Gujarat, was one of the first experiments of the Hindutva politics in 1989 when he lost the election. My father had won the election in 1977 during the emergency and he was the youngest MP at that point of time. But he lost in 1989 because of Hindutva politics played out in his constituency and it was never possible for him to win back that constituency again. And, today also I am working on the ground but it is not easy seat for me - let's say being a Muslim also.
But somewhere down the line, I feel that this is causing the negative impacts on the public in general as there has been rise in the unemployment, price hike and other issues which are more relevant. At some point of time, people will have to rise beyond the emotional religious connect and will have to understand that the life is about the survival through a lot of other ways. With the kind of vision Congress has in terms of economic and political ideology, it is the only party which can bring about the change.
During 10 years of Congress rule from 2004 to 2014, 30 per cent of the people rose above the poverty line and today most of the middle class again has come under the poverty line. Probably, this is going to be more important in years to come rather than the Hindutva politics.
IANS: Are you open to fight the general elections in 2024?
Mumtaz Patel: To be honest, I am working on the ground, and not very sure at this time. As far as the contesting elections is concerned, it will be finalised later. But I am here in my father's constituency to stay and work on the ground for the Congress party. So eventually, time will tell what route I will take.
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