Ballari: The Janata Dal (Secular) is going all out to revive its base in the ore rich district of Ballari by wooing Congress and BJP leaders ahead of the 2018 assembly elections.
Both JD(S) president H.D. Deve Gowda and party state unit chief H.D. Kumaraswamy are personally calling up BJP and Congress leaders and offering party tickets to them for the assembly polls.
Congress leader and mining industrialist Hothur Mohammed Iqbal was the first one to receive a call from Mr Kumaraswamy to join his party. Members of the Ballari-based Hothur family are staunch Congress loyalists for almost four decades. Mr Iqbal was a strong contender for the Congress ticket in 2013 from Ballari City. However, he was denied ticket at the last moment and it was given to his elder brother H Abdul Wahab from Hosapete-Vijayanagar constituency.
Mr Iqbal who is firm on contesting from Ballari City in 2018, confirmed that he received calls from Mr Gowda and Mr Kumaraswamy inviting him to join the party and contest from Ballari City on JD(S) ticket.
“I wanted to serve my hometown, Ballari and ensure its overall development. For that reason, I decided to contest. But, I will take a final call on joining JD(S) after discussing it with my well wishers and community elders,” he said. Mr Anil Lad represents Ballari City assembly constituency.
Another mining baron and former Congress legislator H.R. Gaviyappa from Hosapete too received a call from Mr Gowda. Mr Gaviyappa belongs to the HRG family, who have been Congress loyalists for long. However, political circles are abuzz with speculation that the Congress party may allot its ticket to a Muslim community leader to ensure social justice in ticket allotment in the district and Mr Gaviyappa may miss the ticket. Confirming that he received call from Mr Deve Gowda inviting him to join the party, Mr Gaviyappa said, “I yet to take a decision on joining JD(S), I will have to consult my elders,” he maintained.
Former legislator from Kudligi Mr N.T. Bommanna who is presently identified with BJP said that he has decided to quit the saffron party and join JD(S). “I was invited by Deve Gowda to join his party. Either me or any of my family members will contest from Kudligi,” he said....