Q: So you were doing a great job of making people aware, inspiring and invigorating them through poetry, then why did you feel the need to join politics?
Imran: Those who have heard my poetry understand that there is that pain in me. That pain is expressed. I will tell you honestly, many times tears just start flowing from my eyes. Many times I have cried all by myself while writing those poems. I feel anguished, I want to help the poor, the deprived and oppressed. As a poet whatever I could do on individual level, I have done that. But I understand that for doing it on a large scale, it requires a change in the system. It requires the government to do it. The present regime in India promotes hatred. It has torn apart the economic and social thread of the country. I strong believe that only the Congress party can now save the country and the Constitution. I have a responsibility towards the country and its people and I will remain fully devoted to the country.
Q: The responsibility of the Congress Minority department is huge but your experience in the field of politics is very less. Besides, you don’t have a political legacy. In Uttar Pradesh especially, the minority community has moved a little away from the Congress. How will you manage?
Imran: The trust of the party leadership in me and my good intentions will help me in this task. I will meet and interact with the minority communities all across the country. I will communicate and stay in touch with all sections- the intelligentsia, intellectuals and the common people. We will work towards rebuilding and re-nurturing confidence among people. Uttar Pradesh is my state and I am quite familiar with it. We will take everyone along. I definitely want to make it clear that I have not come here to rest and relax. I will invest all my energy and try my level best and will restore the faith of minority communities in the Congress.
Q: The upcoming challenge of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh seems to be a huge one. After many incidents in the state affecting communal harmony, it is almost clear what the strategy of the ruling party will be in these elections. Do you have any counter strategy for this politics of hate?
Imran: You are hinting at the demolition of a mosque in Barabanki, Aqil Qureshi’s death in Bulandshahr and killing of Faisal in Unnao. Now, let me tell you that after the demolition of the mosque in Barabanki, the first leader who stood up in support of the Muslims there was our state Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu. Similarly, in Unnao our district head Abha Vajpayee was fighting for Faisal in Unnao. This very quality of the Congress is an effective weapon against the politics of hate; when Ajay Kumar is oppressed, Imran fights for him, when Imran is abused, Ajay comes and fights for him. This is the unique quality of the Congress. They know that only love can defeat hatred and Congress talks about this love and harmony only. The BJP govt traps people in the hatred and diverts their attention from the main issue. Because if the hatred ends then people will start raising questions and issues. That is why they have been constantly trying to divide the society, but we will respond with love.