The former Minister for Wakfs and Minorities Mumtaz Ali Khan of the Bharatiya Janata Party government on Thursday shifted loyalties to the Congress.
Mr. Khan announced that he has also resigned as member of the Karnataka Legislative Council.
He said he joined the Congress as he was “disillusioned” with the BJP. Expressing displeasure over the anointment of Gujarat Chief Minister as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Mr. Khan said people from all minority communities should unite to prevent Mr. Modi from occupying the top post.
“God forbid he be made the Prime Minister; there will be mayhem,” he said. Stating that he had joined the Congress without any conditions, Mr. Khan said his services should be utilised to foster amity between Hindus and Muslims.
Making way for Parameshwara?
Sources said Mr. Khan’s exit from the Council was likely to pave the way for KPCC Chief G. Parameshwara’s entry into the Cabinet.
“As Mr. Khan had a term of nine more months, this vacancy has been created to induct Mr. Parameshwara and make him a Minister,” sources said.
Former IAS official Baldev Krishna, former MLA Manohar Inapur and former chairperson of the Karnataka Haj Committee Mohammed Ghouse Basha Ashrafi also joined the Congress.
Welcoming the new entrants to the party, Dr. Parameshwara denied his party was indulging in ‘Operation Hasta’ on the same lines as the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’.
“People shifting loyalties and party hopping is a routine thing in politics. The Congress has seen and tolerated several such party-hopping cases in its history of 129 years. We welcome those who want to join the Congress. We will also not stop anyone from quitting the party,” he said.
Replying to queries, Dr. Parameshwara said the party and the government would not sack Minister for Information Santosh Lad from the ministry.
Confident about Lad
“We are firm that we will not support anyone who is involved in illegal mining if the charges are proved. According to our reports, Mr. Lad is not involved in illegal mining,” he added.