Kolkata: Fourteen months since Sajda Ahmed contested for the bypoll election from Uluberia constituency and had won with a huge margin of 4.75 lakh votes, she is all prepared to compete for the second time from the same constituency. The 58-year-old woman is the widow of Sultan Ahmed, who has been the minority face of TMC for all his tenure. Sajda has had a 48 per cent attendance in the Parliament, raised 18 questions and participated in zero debates (Source PRS Legislative).
The incumbent MP from Uluberia engages in a chat with eNewsroom, at her Park Circus office, before heading out to Uluberia to discuss her agenda for the election, maximum women representation in TMC candidate list, her political opponents, Mamata Banerjee’s chance of becoming Prime Minister and more. Following are the excerpts from the conversation that transpired:
eNewsroom: This time, it is believed that Mamata Banerjee is a strong contender for the post of Prime Minister of India, do you also feel so?
Sajda Ahmed: We (TMC) want anybody but Modi (Narendra) to become the Prime Minister of India. And, any party but BJP in the centre is what we want. This is a propaganda being spread by the BJP leaders that Mamata Banerjee wants to become prime minister. If she becomes the PM, then it will be good not just for the party but also for Bengal. But bagging the Prime Minister’s position is not on our mind right now, defeating BJP and its communal politics, definitely is our agenda.
eNewsroom: What do you think about Trinamool Congress giving 41 per cent tickets to women candidates, highest by any party?
Sajda Ahmed: The move is an excellent one. And to be honest, the move didn’t come as a surprise to us as we all were expecting it. Needless to say, we can see the difference in the mood of the women voters when we are campaigning for the party. A huge number of women are coming out to campaign for us as cadres. In Bengal, ‘Didi’ has indeed been an inspiration and she always delivers what she promises, as in this case, she fulfilled the commitment of giving a large number of tickets to women, something which even the national parties have failed to do.
eNewsroom: What’s your election agenda for Uluberia?
Sajda Ahmed: Development and peace is not just my agenda for my constituency but also of our party for this election. There is so much hatred all around us that the common man forgotten what it means to be living peacefully and co-existence mean. Also, peace is something which is lacking in India at the moment. But here in Bengal, things are still different.
Also, development and education is the need of the hour for the common man to lead a decent life. We have done a lot of developmental work in Uluberia, right from having pucca roads to making clean water available to the people, to promoting education in the area, we have done it all. The literacy rate of Uluberia is about 80 per cent.
We intend to continue doing the developmental work in this constituency and that’s our agenda.
eNewsroom: People have been raising the question of law and order in your constituency and Bengal in general. What’s your take?
Sajda Ahmed: (Smiles) BJP doesn’t have much to talk about hence they are raising such questions. They can’t question the developmental work that we have done be it in my constituency or in Bengal under the banner of Sabooj Sathi, Kanyashree, Yuvashree. So, it’s their fear of losing the election in Bengal that is making such claims. As for me, I am confident of not just winning but also of my win margin increasing as we have worked for the common man’s benefit.
eNewsroom: But there have been some cases of communal unrest in Uluberia…
Sajda Ahmed: BJP off late has developed a keen interest in Uluberia. There have been some stray cases, which we have managed to get under control.
eNewsroom: What’s your take on BJP pitting actor Joy Banerjee against you in Uluberia?
Sajda Ahmed: (Laughs) I really don’t know what to tell you, except for the fact that his wife (Ananya Banerjee) is a TMC councillor. He had contested last time from Birbhum only to be defeated. CPI (M) has traditionally been the contender for the second position in Uluberia, where it once enjoyed the majority. The fight is definitely between CPI (M) and BJP for the second position, as I am confident of winning with record margin. Let me be clear, I am enjoying filling in as Uluberia’s MP after my husband’s death. It gives me satisfaction to work for the development work of our society.
eNewsroom: You have been recently appointed as the head of Calcutta Muslim Orphanage (CMO)…
Sajda Ahmed: It gives me immense pleasure that I have broken the norm. But it also makes me sad, that it took so many years for a woman to head CMO. However, now that a change has been ushered in, I want to better the standard of education and soft skills provided to the students there.