Communal politics will not survive in Telangana: Interview with Shujat Ali

Communal politics will not survive in Telangana as Hindus and Muslims here have great understanding, says Shujat Ali ‘Sufi’, former joint director of Doordarshan, who recently joined Congress. In the interview with Fasiullah SM, he takes potshot at TRS for its ‘jhoot’ and talks about upcoming elections, among other things.

Below are excerpts:

Three variants of your name are available in public domain. What’s your reaction to it?

My actual name is Shujat. It means brave. And I belong to ‘Sufi’ family. My father was a great sufi saint having lot of disciples. His guidance and stewardship is leading me to a very peaceful life of understanding other people.

You took positive stand during Telangana Movement but joined Congress, which lost its charm in recent elections at the Center and in Telangana. Why?

If Congress were not lost, how TRS [Telangana Rashtra Samithi] would have come to power. In democracy, one party has to lose and other has to win. TRS has won without majority.

Political parties will always be there. If the workers are not active, then the party will lose the election. If the workers are active, then the party will win the election. Now Congress has been rejuvenated, and got lot of vigor and strength. I am sure the party will come back to power.

I haven’t joined the party to get power. I feel that the political party is an engine of social service. So I came to this party to do some social service. Moreover, I was the president of National Students Union (NSUI) in 1980 before becoming an IIS officer. My joining Congress is reunion with the party.

What role and responsibilities Telangana Congress has assigned to you?

Whatever I have learned in last 45 years in my public and government life, I would like to give that to Congress party. I will give feedback about where they were failing, and what are their strengths and weaknesses. I will play a vital role in giving the right feedback. I will work like an advisor to the party.

Your role as advisor will be limited to media and public relations?

No. I will play role in all wings of the party. If they give some responsibility, then welcome. Otherwise, I will work like an intellectual worker of the party.

After defeating Congress in Gujarat, BJP now focuses on Telangana. Apparently there are only three major players. What prospects do you see for Congress in upcoming elections?

First of all let me tell you that BJP is not at all in the fray. The culture of Telangana is different. The Hindus and Muslims here have great understanding. There’s no communal feeling here. If you [BJP] are trying to create a mechanical communal feeling, then it will be a greater flop.

The competition is between Congress and TRS. I would like to tell you why TRS will lose. The entire foundation of TRS is based on ‘jhoot’, ‘jhoot’ and nothing but ‘jhoot’.

For example, when contesting the election he [KCR] promised to make a SC [Schedule Caste] the chief minister of the state. What happened? Then he promised four ministerial berths for Muslims. What happened? He promised 12 percent reservation. What happened? He promised 10,00,000 flats to poor people. Hardly 600 flats were given. Osmania University was a great center of revolution of Telangana. Now it has become a center of traitors, according to them. Kodandaram was a great statesman then, now a ‘ghaddar’ for them. These things will not only damage the image of the party but the election outcome.

Considering the stature of Modi-Shah in capitalizing mass media for winning elections, what challenge do you see in terms of information bombardment ahead of the elections?

Our Indians are great. They have so much understanding of each and every party. As far as media onslaught is concerned, the friends of BJP own the major media houses. I don’t want to take names of media houses which are run by great Ambanis, Adanis, etc. If you are purchasing the media and propagating then it will not have any impact. Even if you [BJP] have strong media and not implementing the promises then how can you have public support? If you make promises a ‘jumla’ then public will have ‘hamla’ in polling booth.

How far BJP will be successful in utilizing RSS network in the state?

What’s the percentage of vote share BJP got so far here in Telangana? Hardly two or three percent i.e. slightly better than AIMIM. Communal politics will not survive in Telangana. That’s my firm belief. And they are having no program. Who’s eating what is not your duty. Of course, we should respect sentiments of each and every member of this country. The politics of imposition will always have the failures. No political outfit or organization across the world has come out with flying colors with the politics of imposition.

What kind of rapport you share with Asaduddin Owaisi?

In politics, nobody is permanent enemy or friend. People go according to their requirements. Who taught that the people who were opposing Telangana would have become the greatest friends of the present regime. All these are political compulsions.

What’s your advice to youth about career in Mass media?

Mass media is the best medium today. It’s the greatest tool for change. It can fetch a very good income. Youth can do wonders by making film to unite the ‘insaniyat’ and get lakhs of rupees. They can also run news agency and make films on social values. But they should not waste their energies on negative activities.

Watch: Full Interview with Shujat Ali Sufi, IIS

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