BENGALURU: In a bid to retain MLC CM Ibrahim in the Congress fold, the party’s General Secretary and state in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala personally went to meet the senior leader after consulting Opposition leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC President D K Shivakumar. Last month, Ibrahim met JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda along with former CM H D Kumaraswamy, invoking the displeasure of Congress leaders. Kumaraswamy had visited Ibrahim, after which the two had visited Gowda.
Ibrahim is a Congress MLC, and there was talk that he would switch sides and be made JDS working president. JDS was also interested in getting back Ibrahim, who had served as Civil Aviation minister in 1996. It is no secret that the JDS got a negligible number of Muslim votes, and their effort to rope in Ibrahim is to try and regain votes in certain pockets where the party lost. It is an open secret that Ibrahim was sending signals about his unhappiness with Congress leadership. He used to be seen with Siddaramaiah regularly, but this was not the case in the past few months.
Ibrahim reportedly told Surjewala, “I have nothing against anyone but I have issues against certain processes, which need to be addressed.’’ Surjewala assured him he would convey his concerns to the high command. The Congress, too, is not ready to take any community’s support for granted, and is especially cautious about the minority issue in the backdrop of Youth Congress president aspirant Mohammed Nalapad’s disqualification after the election, and talk of certain leaders’ malafide intentions.
Minority votes are not the monopoly of the Congress, which is wary of the SDPI and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen threat. This new belligerence on the part of the JDS by trying to rope in a strong Muslim leader may not be to Congress’ advantage.