BJP and its divisive agenda not acceptable to the people of Shivajinagar: Rizwan Arshad

Among the youngest leaders of the Congress, Rizwan Arshad speaks about his connect with young voters and his views on communal harmony

Updated - May 05, 2023 12:57 pm IST

Published - May 03, 2023 06:21 pm IST

Rizwan Arshad, the Congress candidate from Shivajinagar Constituency arriving at the Vasantnagar BBMP offic to file his nomination.

Rizwan Arshad, the Congress candidate from Shivajinagar Constituency arriving at the Vasantnagar BBMP offic to file his nomination. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

KARNATAKA BENGALURU  17/04/2023 Rizwan Arshad from Shivajinagar Constituency filed his nomination today at Vasantnagar BBMP office.

KARNATAKA BENGALURU 17/04/2023 Rizwan Arshad from Shivajinagar Constituency filed his nomination today at Vasantnagar BBMP office. | Photo Credit: HANDOUT E MAIL

One of the youngest leaders of the Congress, Rizwan Arshad, is campaigning in full swing with the hopes of securing the Shivajinagar seat for the second time. In a candid conversation with The Hindu, he spoke about his connect with young voters and his views on communal harmony among other things.

Excerpts from the interview:  

After the JD(S) candidate’s nomination was rejected, the fight now seems to be between you and Chandra N. of the BJP. What are your contributions as an MLA that gives you an edge? 

The Congress has a very strong base here as we have been involved with people and their issues. Our bond with them is strong and we have supported them when they needed help. The BJP has limitations in Shivajinagar. We have worked in partnership with the public and that has given us goodwill. The BJP and its divisive agenda is not acceptable to the people of Shivajinagar.  

Why are core areas of Shivajinagar not as developed as other CBD areas like MG Road or Brigade Road? 

In the last three years, we have been the only constituency where the largest number (on 40 roads) of walkable footpaths were built. We have transformed the whole area. You can ask the residents how Ulsoor lake was and how it has been for the last one year. You can see development in Chandini Chowk and Jumma Masjid road and such. Our work speaks rather than us talking about it.

The halal meat controversy last year affected the traders at Russel Market. In your interactions with them, what have you found to be their concerns this time and how do you plan to address it? 

Halal was an issue created deliberately by the Sangh Parivar to disturb the harmonious environment. But it was defeated as people rejected it. The Hindu brethren came out and said that they would buy meat from the shops they were buying from earlier and indicated that they would not buy into the poisonous argument. This was not a Hindu-Muslim issue. This is how Hindus, Muslims, and Christians should stand up with each other and defeat communal agenda perpetrated for political gains.  

Rizwan Arshad from Shivajinagar constituency visits a temple before he filing his nomination at Vasantnagar BBMP office in Bengaluru.

Rizwan Arshad from Shivajinagar constituency visits a temple before he filing his nomination at Vasantnagar BBMP office in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

How do you strike a balance between different religious groups in the constituency in these sensitive times? 

Shivajinagar is a mini India where culture, language and religions are diverse. .I I strongly believe that doing politics in the name of a religion or community is not in the interest of the country. I am the man who is found in temples, churches, masjids, Jain temples, etc.  

All parties are making use of their young leaders this time to reach out to the first-time voters. As a young leader yourself, how involved have you been with the young voters?

My connect with youngsters is quite strong as they have heard me speak multiple times and understood my vision for them. Young voters today are very aware of what is happening. They are not into the frenzy of caste and religion and are very pragmatic. They see the thoughts, programmes, vision and background of a particular candidate and go through their social media. We have conducted huge movements with youngsters and volunteers. They see me less as a politician and more as someone representing them.

Will Congress gain a full majority this time or are you open to alliances? 

The Congress is in a comfortable position to form the government. People are fed up with the 40% commission and infighting. They are vision-less with no programmes whatsoever except for communalising and polarising society. People know that the Congress has a track record of giving stable governments with definitive plans for the progress of the State. We need to bring the reputation and economy of Karnataka back on track. I am pretty sure that people have decided to boot this government and bring Congress back to power.  

If you are elected for the second term, what can we expect to see in Shivajinagar during your time? 

The changes we have brought in, we will take it to the next level. We will raise the benchmark of development and bring infrastructure which a common man needs. I will continue my work on education, healthcare, sanitation and development. That is the commitment I will give to the people of Shivajinagar.

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