Shehzad Poonawalla currently serves as a Secretary in Maharashtra Congress and is a member of the Indian National Congress party. Shehzad, a civil rights crusader, was the first person to revolt against the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as the president of INC; calling the internal polls rigged, he vowed to create a “Dynasty Mukt Congress”. He is one of the few who stood up for rights of Hindus in Bangladesh. He has been a strong critic of dynasty politics.
Shehzad, unlike other news media, we will be asking you direct questions and expect you to answer them in the most precise way possible.
1. Shehzad, although you do not associate yourself with Congress anymore, would you like to tell us one thing that you have learned there and will always want to keep it with you?
Shehzad: I am still a Congressman. One thing I learnt from there is that even if everyone is against you and even if you are judged not on talent but on surname, you can create and leave a mark provided you persistently keep fighting. Because…the more people pull you down, the more determined you are to rise above the pettiness and insecurity of incompetent dynasts.
2. One thing that you think is negatively impacting Congress.
Shehzad: Rahul Gandhi’s leadership or rather lack of it. His feudal approach of promoting only dynasts.
3. Congress has always been about one dynasty, so why this sudden realisation?
Shehzad: It was not sudden. I tried pursuing it with the leadership for 6 years! On every occasion, Rahul Gandhi assured us that he will change the party system. He said so in 2007, 2013 and 2014, but nothing happened. He is saying the same even now in 2018 but I do not think he will ever live up to his words.
4. If not Rahul Gandhi, then who as Congress president?
Shehzad: Anyone who has talent and public support. For example, Dr. Shashi Tharoor! There is no lack of talent in Congress, but here, if you don’t have a family, you can never get a platform or an opportunity. There is no space for first-generation leaders under Rahul’s leadership.
5. If not Congress, then which other political party you would want to join to serve the nation?
Shehzad: Will think of that if and when I leave Congress or I am removed by Rahul Gandhi. Right now, I am focused on creating a “Dynasty Mukt Congress”.
6. How do you see democracy in Congress?
Shehzad: Non-existent! Rahul Gandhi is very intolerant. He has the DNA of emergency. He needs to be more accessible and open to criticism. He believes he is destined to become PM because he is Rajiv Gandhi’s son! If he was democratic, he would debate with me on the issue of dynasty politics; however, he runs away from a debate and has directed Congress media cell to block me on news channels and blackmail them to drop me from panels.
7. Which party according to you play relatively cleaner politics?
Shehzad: I cannot say. I have only experienced Congress till now. I am not like Sidhu or Lovely, jo sab jagah ghum aaye hai…
8. Karl Marx, Swami Vivekananda or any other?
Shehzad: Swami Vivekananda , Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad and Vallabh Bhai Patel!
9. What according to you is the idea of India?
Shehzad: The Preamble of our constitution is the best articulation of the idea of India…everyone should read it and follow it.
10. How do you see role of news media houses in current politics?
Shehzad: Some journalists would be better off wearing their political affiliations openly! They are spokespersons of parties masquerading as journalists. Media houses must not become puppets of political parties. Some media houses are so loyal that they have stopped inviting me because it may offend Rahul Gandhi! The least said, the better about them!
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