Muslim leaders have started leaving Janata Dal Secular, not too long ago known for its pro-minority advocacy, following the party’s decision to join the BJP-led NDA.
A group of Muslim leaders including former minister N.M. Nabi, JDS senior vice-president Syed Shafiullah, youth wing president N.M. Noor and minority wing chief Nasser Hussain have already resigned from the party.
“I organised a meeting of like-minded JDS leaders yesterday (Sunday) to take stock of the situation. All the 25 leaders and members who attended the meeting expressed concern at the decision to join the NDA,” Shafiullah told The Telegraph on Monday.
While there are no Muslims among the 19 JDS MLAs elected in the May state elections, B.M. Farooq is a lone member of the legislative council (upper House) from the community. “I haven’t been able to talk to Farooq. But the general trend is that all Muslim leaders will resign if they haven’t already done so,” Shafiullah noted.
But he was noncommittal on the next move, claiming leaders from several parties were in touch with them. “We have been getting calls from Janata Dal United, Aam Aadmi Party and a few other parties.”
A senior Congress functionary didn’t rule out the possibility of JDS leaders being miffed at the alliance with BJP heading their way. “I won’t rule out that possibility since we are the only secular party in the state now,” said the leader, who declined to be named.
But he reminded those who want to join the Congress not to nurse any major expectations in terms of positions. “Our party leaders have already said that anyone wanting to join us must not expect any big position and should go by the party’s decision on how to utilise them,” he added.
State minister for housing B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan reminded the contribution of Muslim voters to whatever the JDS has achieved so far. He noted that even Kumaraswamy would have lost in the Channapatna Assembly constituency had it not been for the Muslim voters.
Another JDS bigwig, former state president C.M. Ibrahim, is likely to quit. He has been a close associate of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda since the 1970s.