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Interview: Ateeq Ahmed

Interview: Ateeq Ahmed

Muslims will naturally be influenced by me’
Samajwadi Party rebel Ateeq Ahmed, in jail for the murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal, tells NEHA DIXIT through his lawyer why he wants to join the BSP
You have said that you could not make head or tail of the nuclear deal, so why did you crossvote?
Till date, I haven’t understood completely what the nuclear deal is all about. I voted against it because through it, the US was influencing Indian foreign policy. Moreover, the UPA Government wanted to pass the deal without the country’s consent.
What are your differences with Mulayam Singh?
In 1990, Mulayam Singh had the image of a farmers’ leader and a socialist thinker. His party also followed the same ideology. But now, it gives more importance to capitalists, liars, sycophants and pimps, which I strongly oppose.
These differences arose after you refused to boycott the Presidential election, as SP had demanded?
Being an MP, I represent 15 lakh voters. I would have defied them if I had boycotted the Presidential elections. In a democracy, the vote is the highest right and in no way do I think that boycotting elections is right.
Did you crossvote so you could join the BSP?
I have said this before too, that I crossvoted because I am against the US. It is true that talks were on with the BSP, and they were also against the deal. So, both of us voted against the deal.
Why do you want to join the BSP?
India is a dalit majority country. And though it’s a democracy, people from the marginalised sections are being exploited. The only way to alleviate their suffering is to make their leader sit on the topmost chair so that they get respect.
You have been trying to be friendly with Mayawati ever since a change of guard took place in Uttar Pradesh.
It’s not a crime to be friendly with someone.
You claim that you are innocent of Raju Pal’s murder.
Yes, I have nothing to do with the murder. I have been defamed because I was a political person.
There are over 37 cases against you involving kidnapping, getting property transferred in your name, dacoity, assault and usurping government land.
All these cases are false. I don’t want to elaborate on them because they are still under trial.
Criminals in politics is a big issue. Are you one of them? 
If merely getting a case registered against you makes you a criminal, then all politicians should be stopped from contesting polls. The court will punish criminals, the Constitution will stop them from contesting, and the public will vote them out.
Considering Mayawati has been very tough with criminals , do you think she will allow her image to be sullied?
Till the court does not give its verdict, no one, be it a politician or a common man, can be called a criminal.
Will the BSP accept you because you can influence the Muslim vote?
I have been elected an MLA five times and now I am also an MP. I have represented my people for the last 15 years and hence it’s natural for the Muslims to be influenced by me.
Once you join the BSP, will there still be a free trial?
By asking this you are questioning the fairness of the court and disrespecting it. I have complete faith in the judiciary and believe that it cannot be influenced.


From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 34, Dated Aug 30, 2008
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