Kolkata: A day after being declared as Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate from Uluberia parliamentary constituency, Sajda Ahmed, widow of Sultan Ahmed, claims that her husband had worked for all, and not any specific community. She also maintains that Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) will play communal politics in Uluberia, but she will not get trapped and will stick to the development agenda of TMC.
Sultan Ahmed, two times MP from Uluberia, and prominent Muslim face TMC had died of cardiac arrest on September 4, 2017. Ahmed was named in Narada sting case and died during its trial. Sajda, his widow, is the TMC candidate for Uluberia, which will be going for a by-election on January 29, 2018.
Dressed in a white salwar kameez, seated in one of the many rooms of the most important building of Ripon Street, Sajda meets media persons for the first time after her husband’s demise.
And she seems to be following instructions from the party. When Sajda is asked about the speculations of her son Sharique Ahmed contesting the elections, she passes it off by saying, “Well, to be honest, he is too young to enter this field. However, if he wants to and the party approves of him then, of course, he can contest sometime later. We will do what our party supremo, Mamata didi wants. If she has shown confidence in me then I shall deliver.”
She then adds, “The issue now is not me or Sharique contesting elections from Uluberia, but we overcoming the communal forces, who are trying their best break the peace out there.” Sajda asserts that she has a good idea about the constituency, from where her husband had won back to back. Speaking about the approaching elections, she says, “Senior party men made it clear that– we will fight this election on the basis of developmental work. We know that BJP will be playing the communal card and will try to polarize the votes, but we have no plans of doing so as communalism is not the ideology of TMC politics.” On being asked if she was aware of Yogi Adityanath traveling to Bengal to mobilize BJP workers and supporters, she smiles, pauses and says, “They can do what they want. We know what the people of Bengal want. We under no circumstance will polarize the votes by playing the communal card. My husband has worked for the people of Uluberia and I want to take forward his legacy. I am sure the common man understands this and will do what they feel is right.”
As the interview proceeds and questions related to her husband props, an emotional Sajda takes a break only to come back after a few minutes to answer questions like a pro. Speaking about her political debut, she shares, “Long back, my husband had wanted me to join politics. But I had declined. There were already two politicians in the family and I had my kids to groom. So many years down the line, today, when I will be contesting this election, in a way will be fulfilling his wish.” Sajda, a graduate of the University of Calcutta, is a social worker and one of the governing members of Islamia Hospital, Kolkata.
And now that Sajda is contesting on the same turf, which once belonged to her husband, she tries to convince that, “I might not have campaigned, but I have been like a shadow for my husband, during his 30 years of political career.”
However, Sajda seemed not so keen on touching upon or commenting on the controversy surrounding Sultan Ahmed.