Formal announcement may be made tomorrow
He is likely to be the consensus candidate D. Manjunath and Thippeswamy were in the race
BANGALORE: The former Minister and senior leader of the Janata Dal (Secular) Mohammed Merajuddin Patel is tipped to be the new president of the party's State unit. He is expected to take charge from Home Minister M.P. Prakash.
The announcement is expected on Saturday after a meeting of senior leaders of the Janata Dal (S). The former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (S) president H.D. Deve Gowda will preside over the meeting, which will be attended by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, the former Ministers D. Manjunath, Thippeswamy and M. Rajasekhara Murthy, apart from Mr. Prakash. Mr. Manjunath and Mr. Thippeswamy were under consideration for the post.
Sources in the party told The Hindu here on Thursday that 49-year-old Mr. Patel is expected to be the unanimous choice for the post.
By selecting Mr. Patel for the post, the Janata Dal (S) leadership intends to send a clear signal about its commitment to its secular ideology. Not everyone in the party is happy about the alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the State.
While a change of guard at the State level has been on the cards, the timing of the appointment is significant. With the byelection to the Chamundeshwari Assembly seat expected shortly, the party has wants a new president at the helm in the State.
Mr. Patel stayed clear of the Kumaraswamy camp when the latter struck a pact with the BJP. Being a loyalist of Mr. Deve Gowda, Mr. Patel was kept out of the Government and was not given a Cabinet berth even after Mr. Deve Gowda patched up with his Chief Minister son, although Mr. Prakash and H.D. Revanna made it to the Ministry. Another leader of the party, the former Minister P.G.R. Sindhia, has been keeping a low profile in the party after Mr. Kumaraswamy struck an alliance with the BJP. He told The Hindu that he would take on any responsibility in the party only after it snaps ties with the BJP.