A day after the Janata Dal (Secular) held a mammoth convention of Muslims at Palace Grounds here, the former MLC Abdul Azeem accused party leaders H.D. Kumaraswamy and S.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan of conspiring to defeat Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi, a candidate from the Muslim community fielded by the Congress in the recently held elections to the State Legislative Council from the Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Azeem, who was one of the prominent Muslim leaders in the JD(S), submitted his resignation from the party on Sunday, and convened a press conference on Monday where he held Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Khan responsible for Mr. Saradagi’s defeat in the Council polls held last month.
He accused Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Khan of entering into a “contract” to ensure the victory of Independent candidate Bhairathi Suresh in the polls. “They lured the Congress MLAs, whose votes had been allocated by the party leadership for Mr. Saradagi,” he said.
He also questioned the decision taken by the JD(S) to support an Independent, with just six surplus votes against the required 19 votes.
‘Role in cross-voting’
Clearly, Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Khan played a role in the “cross-voting” in the Congress that led to Mr. Saradagi’s defeat, he said, and questioned the professed commitment of the JD(S) to the Muslims.
Mr. Azeem’s charges are significant in the light of allegations made by JD(S) leaders that the Congress does not have a genuine concern for the Muslim community as reflected in its failure to ensure Mr. Saradagi’s success.
Mr. Azeem termed the Muslim convention organised by the JD(S) as a “political gimmick”. He said there is a big question mark on whether the turnout at the convention would translate into votes.
Mr. Azeem said he quit the JD(S) as there was no discipline in the party. However, he said he had a lot of respect for the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda. “But, Mr. Kumaraswamy does not follow the principled politics pursued by Mr. Gowda,” he lamented.
When asked about his political future, Mr. Azeem said he had received invitations from three political parties and would take a decision soon.
The former vice-president of JD(S) city unit Rajesh Gundu Rao, who was also present at the press conference, came down heavily on the JD(S) organising a community convention.
“Never before in the history of the State has any political party organised a convention of a community,” he said and questioned how the JD(S) can call itself secular when it is so blasé about organising community conventions.