AAP leaders wanted me to lose: Shazia


In 2013 Delhi Assembly elections, Shazia Ilmi was busy fighting her maiden election under AAP only to lose by a whisker. Months later, she again hit the campaign trail in Ghaziabad Lok Sabha constituency fighting a tough battle and lost. By then, she and AAP leadership had moved poles apart. She joined BJP ahead of another round of Delhi polls. She spoke to Shemin Joy of Deccan Herald.

You quit AAP and joined a party, which is diametrically opposite.

AAP is a factory of lies. Arvind (Kejriwal) and Manish (Sisodia) became very insecure. They started cutting me out. Arvind did not even give me time to meet him. They made it literally difficult for me to continue. Here in BJP, I do not see anything like that. I have my space.

No party is perfect. However, there is new thinking in BJP. A new renaissance is happening. They are encouraging good people. BJP is giving upright people a chance.

I am very critical of ‘ghar vapsi’ and love jihad and I will continue to be so. Senior leaders told me that these are not party programmes. I told them if you want me in the party, I would like to work on the sidelines. I said I do not want any position. They insisted me to contest. I was given three-four choices and two of them were excellent choices. I still said no.

Last elections, you were fighting. What do you do now?

I am working on campaign and communication strategy. I have done over half a dozen rallies. Then there are media commitments.

You fought in RK Puram last time as an AAP candidate.

They wanted to give me a seat in which I would lose. I took it up boldly but I lost my some 300 votes. Arvind did not show up for campaigning in RK Puram on the last day. It would have made a difference. He lied that he was unwell. But, he campaigned in Sarojini Nagar, which is right near RK Puram.

Are you saying that AAP fielded you from RK Puram because they wanted you to lose?

Yes. They made sure that I lose. Some prominent AAP volunteers were sent to the constituency to ensure that. I was abused publicly me. When I went to complain about it, I saw the same people sitting in AAP office.

You had opposed Kiran Bedi when she expressed her reservation about forming AAP.

She took her time. It is totally her choice. If she does not find Arvind’s leadership up to the mark and it does not instil any confidence in her, and then if Modi does that, it is her choice. She is a huge admirer of Modi, then so be it. I have had a pleasant experience working with her. I also know of the games played against her. I know for sure that none other than Arvind and Manish was given prominence.

This time, is it a Modi election or Bedi election?

It is a combination of both. Modi magic works like nothing else does. Let me be honest with you. Bedi has an influence on Delhi. Last few days, AAP had maligned her. Fact of the matter is, she has a connect with people. Women really like her and look up to her.

(Excerpts of the interview appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 4, 2015)


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