Bangalore, Feb 16: Senior Congressman CK Jaffer Sharief received a shot in the arm as the party’s top Muslim leaders in the state have backed him for the Bangalore Central Lok Sabha seat.
In a meeting held late on Wednesday, a group of senior leaders unanimously agreed that the community should support Sharief’s candidature. They have entrusted the responsibility of impressing the party high command, chief minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president G Parameshwara to municipal administration minister Qamarul Islam.
“Sharief is a senior leader of the community. His choice was unanimous,” Islam said. Sharief, Islam, CM Ibrahim, Nasir Ahmed and R Roshan Baig are said to be among others who participated in the meeting.
From the Muslim community, state Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad is a rival contender to Sharief for the seat. Former MP HT Sangliana and former minister J Alexander have thrown their hats into the ring too. Wednesday’s development is seen as a setback to Arshad. Some in the party fear that senior Muslim leaders in the constituency may unite and work against Arshad if Sharief is denied the ticket.
Muslim leaders believe that Sharief has the advantage as the JD(S) may not field a candidate due to the former Union minister’s good rapport with JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda.
The JD(S) has always played a spoilsport for Congress in this constituency. It used to field a Muslim candidate, which divided minority votes. In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, Ibrahim from JD(S) was pitted against Sharief that resulted in Sangliana’s victory on a BJP ticket.
In the 2009 polls, Sangliana, who switched over to Congress, faced defeat at the hands of PC Mohan of BJP mainly due to JD(S) candidate BZ Zameer Ahmed. Sharief was fielded from Bangalore North and lost to BJP’s DB Chandre Gowda.