JD(S woos Muslims big time at mega meet
Says it is better placed than Cong to protect their interests
The JD(S) sought to project itself as the champion of Muslims by organising a State-level convention of the community at the Palace Grounds on Sunday, to encash its resentment towards the Congress over the defeat of Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi in the recent Legislative Council poll.
The party flaunted its secular identity before a large gathering of the community members, whose support is key for its electoral success, next only to Vokkaligas. While patting their back for sending Syed Mudeer Aga to the Upper House, the party leaders made it a point to repeatedly highlight the failure of the Congress to ensure Saradagi’s victory.
Though Saradagi was an official Congress candidate in the election to the Council from the Assembly, he lost the polls due to cross-voting.
The JD(S) too has lost two of its prominent Muslim leaders in recent years: Iqbal Ansari (who quit the party over being stripped of the State working president’s post) and Abdul Azim (for not being made MLC for a second term). Mirajuddin Patel, who was the State party president, passed away a few years ago.
Currently, the party hardly has any senior Muslim leader who holds sway over the community. Hence, it is now trying to project Chamarajpet MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan as its Muslim face. Khan is a close associate of the party’s State president H D Kumaraswamy, and it was he who took the lead in organising the convention.
Addressing the gathering, party supremo H D Deve Gowda criticised the Congress for Saradagi’s defeat.
“You (Congress) cannot ensure the victory of the community leaders in the election, but you want the votes of the community. My family members are neither after power nor are we opportunists. I had promised Aga that he will be made an MLC and I have kept the promise,” he said.
Gowda repeatedly urged the community to forgive his son Kumaraswamy for having joined hands with the BJP to form a coalition government in the past. Kumaraswamy, on his part, blamed the Congress for his decision to go with the saffron party. The Congress tried to finish off the JD(S). In order to save the party, a decision was taken to form a government with the BJP, he claimed.
The Samajwadi Party, led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, and the Bahujan Samaj Party, led by Mayawati, too had formed governments with the BJP in the past.
But that does not mean they are not secular parties, Kumaraswamy said. He listed out the schemes and programmes he had initiated for the welfare of Muslims when he was the chief minister.
Zameer Ahmed Khan said the Congress and the BJP were two sides of the same coin. They both have done nothing for the community.
“C M Ibrahim became the union civil aviation minister when he was in the JD(S). Now, in the Congress, he could not even become an MLC,” he said.