Bengaluru: The slow and steady surge of SDPI in Karnataka is slowly threatening the minority vote bank of Congress in the state. However, at the moment, SDPI is also playing into the hands of individual politicians, without contesting in some of the key constituencies. This is happening at a time when the JD(S) is losing its grip on minority voters, who are consolidating in favor of Congress.
Right now, SDPI is strong in Mysuru, Mangaluru and Bengaluru, where it has made its presence felt in local elections. Last year, there was an attack on Congress MLA Tanvir Sait, representing Narasimharaja constituency in Mysuru. The attacker was a SDPI activist and his party had given tough fight to Sait in the last two elections, polling 29,667 (2013) and 33,284 (2018) votes respectively.
Even during last year's violence in Mangaluru, SDPI hand was visible. However, the Congress had to take all the blame for the violence.
In Bengaluru, SDPI had fielded candidates in Sarvajna Nagar, Pulikeshinagar and Chickpet constituencies in 2013, where it polled 11,161, 5431 and 4821 votes respectively. In 2018, it contested only in Chickpet, where it polled over 11,700 votes. Interestingly, in both the elections, SDPI did not contest in Shivajinagar and Chamarajpet, which are Muslim dominated areas. However, after R Roshan Baig resigned from Congress to join BJP, the SDPI did field its candidate in Shivajinagar. However, it did not really divide the Muslim votes.
The Bengaluru riots did rake up a war of words between Baig and BZ Zameer, another Muslim leader of the Congress. When Zameer visited the house of a police firing victim, Baig said that Zameer was fostering and supporting SDPI in Bengaluru. Zameer, through a series of tweets questioned how SDPI fielded a candidate during 2019 by-elections, while it was silent for so many years in Shivajinagar when Baig was contesting.
CORPORATORS QUIZZED AND ASSOCIATE ARRESTED
Meanwhile, investigation into last week's riot is taking curious turns with the police summonning two Congress Corporators -- Sampath Raj and AR Zakir Hussain -- for interrogation and taking Sampath Raj's close associate Arun into their custody.
Meanwhile, KG Halli JD(S) leader Wajid Pasha has confessed that he was among those instigated the riot, and that he was constantly in touch with Arun, a close associate of Raj.
The investigating officers have found out that two mobile phones belonging to Arun were completely engaged during the violence. The police are questioning Arun to know if he was using both the phones during the violence. They are also trying to verify if Raj was the one using Arun's phone to be in touch with rioters....