HDK, Zameer decide to bury the hatchet

HDK, Zameer decide to bury the hatchet

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy and Congress leader B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan. DH Photo.

The scramble for power in Karnataka has forced good friends turned bitter foes - JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy and Congress leader B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan to kiss and make up, all over again. 

After viciously attacking each other for these last few months, the duo made good lost time last night, when they bumped into each other at the Eagleton Golf Resort, where the Congress MLA elects are housed. 

Kumaraswamy paid a visit to the resort for discussions with the Congress leaders to chart out the next steps against the BJP.

DH has accessed pictures of the of HDK and Zameer Ahmed Khan together. They are seen greeting and conversing with each other endearingly. In one of the pictures, Kumaraswamy is even seen patting Khan's cheeks.

It is apparent that the reunion has cheered both the leaders, who, until a few days ago, couldn't see eye-to-eye.

"Kumaraswamy and I are old friends. We had turned 'dushmans' (foes) for sometime. But everything is sorted out now. We have decided to patch up," said Khan, when his reaction was sought.

Interestingly, one of the key witnesses to their reunion was Kumaraswamy's arch political rival, D K Shivakumar. 

He too seems relieved that the two have patched up. Cooperation among the Congress and JD(S) leaders at this juncture is crucial for both parties, given that they are desperately vying to form the government.

The past

Kumaraswamy and Khan had fallen out after the latter decided to register his protest against the former.

Khan, who used to revere Kumaraswamy at one time, was among those responsible in making him the chief minister in 2006.

However, after Kumaraswamy stepped down as chief minister, the duo developed differences over business and political issues. This took a heavy toll on their relationship.

Khan nursed the grouse that the JD(S) leadership had sidelined Muslim leaders in the party.

Their friendship turned so sour that, Khan decided to "backstab" Kumaraswamy by exiting the JD(S) along with six other leaders (Akhanda Srinuvasmurthy, Iqbal Ansari, Bheema Naik, N Cheluvarayswamy, Ramesh Bandisidde Gowda and H C Balakrishna) in 2016.

The seven leaders, who were then JD(S) MLAs, began hobnobbing with former chief minister Siddaramaiah.

They even flouted the party whip during the 2016 Rajya Sabha elections and cross-voted. Their move helped Congress candidate K C Ramamurthy win.

The JD(S) had suspended these leaders and moved the Legislative Assembly Speaker's office seeking their disqualification.

But with the Speaker not taking any decision, the seven leaders cross voted yet again. Their votes helped Congress win its third seat in the Rajya Sabha polls held on March 23. Soon after the polls, the seven officially joined the Congress.

Khan, who has been re-elected from Chamarajpet, had vowed to 'behead' himself if the JD(S) came to power in the state. The regional party, on the other hand, had made concerted efforts to hit back at Khan, but to no avail.

It fielded a former Congress leader Altaf Khan to take on Zameer in Chamarajpet. But Altaf was no match for Zameer.

The recently concluded election has however changed equations between both Kumaraswamy and Zameer Khan. 

As both of them bury the hatchet, the Shakespearean quote that 'politicians make strange bedfellows'; can't be truer.