Last night, Congress released its first list of candidates for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Along with Congress President Rahul Gandhi who will contest from Amethi and his mother UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi who will contest from Rae Bareli, another name that stood out was Imran Masood, who will contest from Saharanpur.
Who is Imran Masood?
46-year-old Imran Masood has studied up to 12th standard and has 6 criminal cases pending against him. But that is not what makes him a curious candidate. During the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Masood was caught threatening to chop off the then Prime Ministerial candidate for the BJP, Narendra Modi, into small pieces.
“Narendra Modi se kaun ladega? Jo thok ke jawab dena jaane Modi *&*#@ ko.” Who will fight against Modi? The one who knows how to give it back to this &@*&# Modi, he had said. In 2014, too, he had contested on Congress seat from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh which he lost to BJP’s Raghav Lakhanpal.
Prior to joining Congress, Masood was with Samajwadi Party. He was declared the Lok Sabha candidate for Samajwadi Party from Saharanpur in September 2013. However, in March 2014 he defected to Congress and contested from Saharanpur seat on a Congress ticket.
In the above video, he also shows off his prowess and political clout he has where people associated with him could break the law and get away with him just because they are associated with him. “If you are going on a motorcycle and a policeman stops you and hits you with a stick. I have the power to stand tall and ask the policeman to get lost. The policemen now themselves step aside when they know you are Imran’s men,” he says. This is power, he says to a cheering crowd.
“For my people, I will kill also and die also,” Masood says.
Then he again asks the question on who will fight with Modi. Addressing himself in the third person, he says, “Imran Masood will fight. He thinks this is Gujarat which has 4% Muslim population. Here there is 42% Muslim population. If he tries to make this into Gujarat we will chop him off.”
Further explaining the vote-bank distribution, Masood says, “Muslim vote percentage is 42%. But even then there is neither one MP nor one MLA. Despite 42% vote share. There are 2% Thakur community votes but there is still one MP, one MLA, one minister and one MLC. There are four people in power from the Thakur community which has 2% vote share.” He adds to the caste divide by claiming how a candidate belonging to a scheduled caste will contest from general seat instead of a reserved seat.
Following his hate speech, Masood was arrested in March 2014. But keeping in tradition with rewarding hate speech, in 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Imran Masood contested on Congress ticket from Saharanpur’s Nakur seat which he lost to BJP’s Dharam Singh Saini. After that, in June 2017, he had threatened forceful agitations by Dalits and Muslims against Yogi Adityanath government. Congress too had supported Masood’s stand on the issue. “Imran is our leader and we support the stand that he has taken locally,” Uttar Pradesh Congress President Raj Babbar was reported to have said.
Recently, he was also made part of the Congress party’s election committee in Uttar Pradesh. Prior to that, Masood was also in the luxury bus with Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia during Priyanka Gandhi’s first roadshow in Lucknow.