congress: HD Kumaraswamy fires fresh salvo, says Congress sidelining Muslim leaders | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: With the assembly elections are still one-and-a-half years away, the war of words between Congress and JDS has intensified over Muslim votes.
Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday unleashed a fresh attack on the Congress by accusing it and opposition leader Siddaramaiah of systematically sidelining Muslim leaders in the party.
“From Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi to Roshan Baig to CM Ibrahim and Tanveer Sait, the political careers of all Muslim leaders in the Congress have been systematically finished by Siddaramaiah,” Kumaraswamy alleged in a series of tweets.
The fresh round of attack is continuation of the war of words that ensued between the two parties after the JD(S) decided to field Muslim candidates in Sindagi and Hangal assembly segments which will go for bypolls on October 3.
The move did not go down well with the Congress as it thinks it would divide the Muslim votes and help the BJP.
The apprehensions of the Congress stemmed from the party’s defeat in the Basavakalyan bypoll where the JD(S) candidate, who was a Muslim, secured over 10,000 votes. As a result, the Congress leaders, especially Siddaramaiah, have been accusing the JD(S) as the B team of the BJP and it has deliberately been fielding Muslim candidates only to help the latter.
According to political experts, both the parties are heavily dependent on Muslim votes to put up a good show in the 2023 hustings and the ongoing fight is to paint themselves as champions of the minorities’ cause and get a major share of votes.
The Congress, which has lost a considerable chunk of its Dalit vote bank to the BJP over the years, is desperately wanting to keep its Muslim vote bank intact in its bid to return to power. But it is worried that the JD(S) may spoil its plans.
“That is the reason why the party is repeatedly blaming the JD(S) for being in an understanding with the BJP. By doing so, it wants to send a message to Muslims that their votes to JD(S) will help the BJP. But they will not be successful,” said JD(S) state president HK Kumaraswamy.
On the other hand, the JD(S) is hoping to damage the Congress’ prospects as much as possible so that the 2023 assembly polls throw a fractured verdict so that the party has a say in the government formation.
“The only way to achieve this is to denting Congress’ Muslim vote bank to the maximum extent possible and that is what Kumaraswamy is doing by highlighting alleged ill-treatment meted out to minority leaders. A fractured verdict means an advantageous position for the JD(S),” said a political commentator.
Senior Congress functionary BL Shankar said mere statements of Kumaraswamy will not take away Muslims votes from the Congress.
“It is the actions not statements that matter when the community weighs options before it. Everybody knows Kumaraswamy can go with any party, including the BJP, for his benefit. Such being the case, his statements will have no impact on the Congress’ prospects,” he said.
KPCC president DK Shivakumar said in Kalaburagi on Saturday that the Muslim voters are well informed and they know very well who to vote for their welfare.
BJP govt has ulterior motive: Ex-MLA

The BJP government in the state has been targeting Christians through the Karnataka State Legislative Committee on Backward Classes and Minority Welfare, said former MLA JR Lobo. He told reporters here on Saturday that the committee has given directions seeking details on the functioning of all Christian missionaries and Catholic institutions.
Lobo, who was the chairman of the committee during 2015-18, said the BJP government is trying to brand all Christian missionaries as propagators of religious conversion though they have been doing social work.
“They (BJP) have been doing it with an ulterior motive. The committee in its recent meeting has directed its members to visit churches on Sunday. These decisions of the committee do not come under its purview,” he said.
The committee should work on the welfare of the backward classes and minorities and not engage in policing, Lobo said.
“The committee has a political motive to mislead people on the activities of Christian missionaries. The BJP government can act against those involved in forcible conversion using various sections of the law. However, BJP is engaged in divide and rule policy,” he alleged.
Lobo said the percentage of the community population has not increased. “In the country, it is only 3.5 % while in Karnataka it is only 2.5%.”

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Sagar Biswas

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