He faces a challenge from a determined KJP candidate

The former Minister Qamar-ul Islam is involved in a triangular contest in the May 5 Assembly elections from Gulbarga North.

If the Congress’ track record and performance in the urban local body polls is any indication, Mr. Islam should win hands down. However, the presence of Karnataka Janata Paksha candidate and former Youth Congress president Naseer Hussain Ustad seems to have shaken Mr. Islam’s hold on the city.

Incidentally, Sadat Hussain Ustad, advocate and Mr. Naseer Ustad’s father, contested the 1978 Assembly polls from Gulbarga. He lost narrowly, by 763 votes, to Mr. Islam, who was contesting as an Independent. Soon after the 1978 polls, Mr. Islam joined the Indian Union Muslim League. In the early 1990s, he joined the Indian National League. He successfully contested the 1994 Lok Sabha polls on the JD(S) ticket, but switched to the Congress prior to the 1999 Assembly elections.

He won by a margin of over 15,000 votes from Gulbarga North in the 2008 Assembly polls; but this time, Mr. Islam will have to contend with a determined KJP candidate and also Rajagopal Reddy of the BJP.

Vote bank

While the KJP hopes to win on the strength of the Lingayat vote, thus gaining a foothold in the district, the BJP will attempt to consolidate the Hindu vote. Both parties will no doubt try to secure the Muslim vote for themselves. There are 2,08,662 voters in Gulbarga North, a Muslim-dominated constituency which also has a significant Hindu population, especially Lingayats.

More In: Karnataka | National