With no Muslim leaders in party, JD(S) wooing those from Congress

With no Muslim leaders in party, JD(S) wooing those from Congress

JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy has announced that he will make a minority leader his deputy (chief minister), if his party comes to power after the Assembly polls.

The fact, however is that the JD(S) lacks even a single influential Muslim leader, who can help swing votes in its favour.

Having lost a majority of its minority leaders one after the other, the JD(S) is now making a desperate bid to woo disgruntled Muslim leaders from the Congress.

One among the prominent minority leaders who has been approached by the JD(S) is Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait, the MLA from Narasimharaja in Mysuru.

The party has dangled the deputy chief minister post to Sait. According to party insiders, the JD(S) has been trying to woo Sait for the last three months. "Sait has been feeling neglected in the Congress for a while now. Recently, he was removed as the district-in-charge minister of Raichur as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is playing favourites. Though he has been given a Cabinet berth, Sait feels that he is not given a free hand to run his department," said sources.

Sources said that Sait briefly considered the JD(S) offer, before rejecting it. "He has burnt bridges with the Muslim leaders in his own constituency. But if he defects to JD(S), the Vokkaliga votes might help him scrape through to victory. Though he has said no, we are still keeping in touch with him -- along with two other Muslim leaders," the JD(S) source added.

While the JD(S) has been in continuous talks with Congress leader C M Ibrahim, it has also held talks with Rajya Sabha member and former Union Minister for Minorities Affairs K Rahman Khan, said a leader.

For the last one year Ibrahim has been in frequent touch with JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda. Recently too, he visited Gowda's residence on Sankranti. While he has demanded the party state president post, the JD(S) has assured him an "important decision making" role.

Ibrahim who had served as JD(S) state president in the 1990s, had later migrated to the Congress along with Siddaramaiah. He is now upset with Siddaramaiah for being denied a Cabinet berth.

Ibrahim is nursing hopes that the JD(S) will make him a minister, if the party comes to power.

The JD(S) started luring the Muslim leaders of the Congress, after the exit of its MLA B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan.

Khan, along with Gangavathi MLA Iqbal Ansari, are last of the 'vote fetchers' to have quit the JD(S). After the demise of party loyalist Mirajuddin Patel and, former MLC Abdul Azeem deserted the party to join the BJP, Shakeel Nawaz, JD(S) minority wing state president, too quit the party in 2016.

The party is now left with little known leaders such as Zafrulla Khan, B M Farooq and Danish Ali, who don't hold much sway over the community voters.

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