Karnataka

Former MLA Zulfikar Hashmi dead

Syed Zulfikar Hashmi  

The former MLA and Janata Parivar leader Syed Zulfikar Hashmi died in Bidar on Tuesday. He was 57. He was suffering from kidney ailments.

He is survived by his wife and five children.

His son Talha Hashmi is a barrister and a leader of Bahujan Mukti Morcha, an NGO.

At the age of 29, he became the first BSP leader from South India to win an Assembly election. He later joined the Janata Dal and then the Janata Dal (Secular). He fought every Assembly poll and bypoll later but could not repeat his feat.

Mr. Hashmi’s parents were from Chitaguppa village who migrated to Bidar looking for work in the 1950s. Mr. Hashmi did small jobs such as serving tea in hotels, construction work and ventured into business, including scrap dealership, before becoming a Bahujan activist and politician.

BSP national leaders Kanshi Ram and Mayawati came to Bidar to campaign for him.

“Mr. Hashmi defeated the Congress candidate in 1994 as Muslims were angry with the Congress after the Babri Masjid demolition of 1992,’’ recalls senior journalist Tanveer Ahmed.

“He came to power promising an alternative model of leadership. The DSS worked for his victory. However, he could not maintain the tempo after 1999. He also kept changing parties, weakening his voter base,’’ he said.

“He was known to present the problems of the common man in frugal Dakhani language in public rallies and in the Assembly. He mingled easily with the common man. He was known to share beedis with the people on the street while discussing their problems,’’ Mr. Ahmed said.

“He successfully implemented the Dalit Muslim unity for his electoral success, as proposed by Dalit ideologue B. Shamsundar. But the dream remained incomplete after Mr. Hashmi’s first election. The need for such unity is even more today,’’ says Gandharva Sena, writer and biographer of Mr. Shamsundar.

“In 1994, Mr. Hashmi’s supporters went from door to door seeking ‘one note and one vote’. A lot of people donated money for his campaign apart from voting for him,’’ Mr. Sena said.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 8:00:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/former-mla-zulfikar-hashmi-dead/article34369712.ece

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