Did Cuttack Vote For Congress Or For Md Moquim? Find Out

Cuttack: At a time when the Indian National Congress (INC) has put up one of its poorest performances in the state and at the Centre, Millenium City’s Mohammed Moquim has emerged as a beacon of hope for the party.
Moquim’s victory from the Cuttack-Barabati seat marks the Congress party’s return here after 34 long years. Did Cuttack vote for him or the party? To find out, we met the man himself. Here are excerpts from what he told Odishabytes on that front and his plans for the ‘Bhai-chara‘ city.
OB: You wrested the seat from Debasish Samantaray after two terms, especially amid the BJD wave. Why do you think the BJD failed here?

Md Moquim (MM):
 In the past 20 years, the BJD wasn’t able to look into basic issues of the city. There was a disconnect between people and the elected representatives. That’s why the people of Cuttack were looking for an alternative and considering the fact that we have raised these issues proactively among the people since the last elections (Md Moquim had lost by 14,328 votes in 2014), they chose us. To be precise, it is the BJD’s failure to do their work properly that led to its defeat.
OB: The Congress won from Cuttack after 34 years. Was it because of your money power, consolidation of minority votes or anti-incumbency against the BJD?
MM: The BJD has been in power for the past 20 years. We can never match them money-wise. We won solely because of our efforts to connect with the people in the last 10 years. I have personally done that. Since the BJP was in alliance with the BJD for a long time, people wanted someone different and it was also my connect and reputation in the city that led us to victory.
OB: What about the Modi wave? Did it have any impact here?
MM: The Modi wave was confined to the Lok Sabha seat. A lot of people wanted Prakash Mishra (BJP) in Delhi (Prakash polled over 4 lakh votes but the seat went to the BJD candidate who polled over 5 lakh votes). But in the Legislative Assembly polls, the BJP stood third.
OB:The performance of the Congress has been poor, both in the state and at the Centre. As a Congress MLA, do you think you will get the requisite support from the administration to address local issues and fulfill people’s aspirations?
MM: This actually depends on the capability of the elected person. We are optimistic about support from the administration. If not, we will compel them by raising our voice or staging protests to hear people’s demands.
OB: Do you think people voted for you or for the Congress party?
MM: It is vice-versa. The Congress party has given me an identity and I complement it as well.
OB: How do you plan to address issues such as the never-ending JICA road work?
MM: Yes, the condition of the roads is bad. I have met a few officials regarding this. Hard work is required to resolve this problem and we will definitely deliver.
OB: Has a timeline been decided for this?
MM: No, we will have more meetings and decide on that soon.
OB: What are you going to do for unemployment and lack of opportunities for the youth in Cuttack?
MM: There isn’t a very big scope for opportunities right now, but we are hoping to bring in government schemes and projects here. I had a dream to make a skill-building institute for unemployed women and we have started work on it. Around 4,000-5,000 women can benefit from this.
OB: Cuttack continues to be congested. As a builder and real estate developer, how do you look at Cuttack’s future. Is there a chance of growth and expansion?
MM Yes, there is. The road from Badambadi to Manglabag can accommodate a flyover. After the drains are covered, we will have a big road from Prabhat Cinema to Chattra Bazaar. Ring Road needs to be widened, as well as the road from Sati Chaura.
OB: What’s next for Md Moquim?
MM: I will work for the people here and make sure Congress party is strengthened again.

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