Saharanpur: Positive publicity or negative publicity, it sure grabs eyeballs. At the moment, the person who seems to be cashing in on all the limelight he received for his remarks on Narendra Modi is Imran Masood.
The Congress candidate from Saharanpur who was arrested for a hate speech against the BJP PM nominee is out on bail and actively campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections.
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At his first rally after being released from jail, Masood said, "Media has made Saharanpur the hot seat. No matter what Modi does, we have an answer to it.. how? Well, you know how."
As he reminds the public of the content in the video featuring him, he calls the CD doctored and cries conspiracy.
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Unfazed by the criticism he received from his hate speech against Modi, Masood is confident that people will support him. "It is a conspiracy of Samajwadi Party and the BJP; the tape is doctored. People will support me."
Almost 40 per cent of the 16 lakh odd voters of Saharanpur constituency are Muslims and many say that Masood's anti-Modi comments have helped him prevent the split of the vote bank between him and his cousin Shezad who is contesting on an SP ticket. Both the brother are vying for the tainted legacy of Rasheed Masood, the first MP to be disqualified for criminal conviction.
"He didn't say anything wrong. We will vote for Imran. We will go to jail with him," says a voter.
A defiant Imran is now campaigning hard for the sympathy vote after spending five days in jail. After the Congress leader courted controversy even the BSP candidate from area made some unparliamentary attack on Modi to garner support. "What is Modi? He is nothing," said BSP leader Jagdish Rana.
While Masood earns the flak from BJP for his remarks against its PM candidate, his support base in Saharanpur only seems to have increased after the incident.