No consensus in JD(S) on chief whip post

The JD(S) legislature party on Tuesday failed to reach a consensus over the selection of a new party whip in the Legislative Assembly or a deputy leader for its legislators.

The exercise became difficult with not many takers to the argument of JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy that the posts should go to MLAs belonging to backward classes or scheduled castes/tribes.  Despite a discussion for close to two hours, wherein it is said that all aspirants for the posts made their case, the JD(S) decided that a final decision will be taken after discussions with their national president, H D Deve Gowda.

“We heard all the aspirants and have shortlisted senior leaders such as Y S V Datta, Mallikarjuna Khuba, Suresh Babu, Zameer Ahmed Khan and Madhu Bangarappa for the posts of chief whip, joint secretaries for the party and the deputy leader of the legislature party. The final decision will be taken after discussing with Gowda,” said Kumaraswamy.

Other  leaders who had a say in the shortlisting of candidates include State president, A Krishnappa, MLC Basavaraj Horatti, MLAs N Cheluvarayaswamy and B B Ningaiah.

Sources said that the 60-year-old Datta told Kumaraswamy, who is batting for Madhu Bangarappa to occupy the chief whip post, that caste should not be the criterion. Caste of an MLA alone cannot help the party win Lok Sabha seats. If caste was such a strong factor, then Kumaraswamy should not have lost the Vokkaliga belt Lok Sabha seats in the recent by-elections, he pointed out. Madhu is being considered for being a ‘youth and backward classes leader.’

It is said that Zameer Ahmed Khan reportedly told Cheluvarayaswamy that he would not mind Datta occupying the post. He would be an aspirant in case the party is considering someone other than Datta. Similar views were expressed by Mallikarjuna Khuba.

According to Kumaraswamy, it was said in the meeting that Datta should be given the post due to his experience. Both Khuba and Harihar MLA H S Shivashankar appealed to the leadership to give more ‘importance’ to the powerful Veerashaiva community.

“As for Zameer, it was sought to provide him an opportunity to give a voice to minorities in the party,” said Kumaraswamy. Both Zameer and Madhu Bangarappa were absent for the meeting. Kumaraswamy said Zameer had an eye operation scheduled for Tuesday, prior to the call for the meeting. Madhu was away touring Sorab.

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