Mysuru: Home minister Basavaraja Bommai's statement of suspecting the hand of People Front of India or Social Democratic Party of India behind the deadly attack on the Mysuru Congress MLA Tanvir Sait on Sunday last has surprised everyone.
An uneasy calm still prevails in Narasimha Raja Assembly constituency which had been represented by Sait for the last five terms. The attack of their MLA was still talk of the town in the entire constituency. The arrest of the assailant immediately after the attack has come as a big breather for the general public in common and the police in particular as otherwise it would have flared up in northern part of Mysuru. The course of investigation by the cops would reveal the motive behind the attack and the mastermind behind it.
Mr Najmal Hussain, a tea shop owner in Rajiv Nagar, says he has been praying to the almighty for the speedy recovery of Tanvir Sait who was always there for members of his constituency. Tanvir's father, Aziz Sait was the icon of thousands of beedi rollers and Hussain's father was one among them.
The senior Sait Saheb had helped his father to buy a small house in the Beedi Colony. Since then the whole family indebted to the Sait saheb. "Our junior Sait Saheb also helps the poor people and he is the replica of Aziz Sait saheb. The attacker must be punished without any mercy", he added.
Is PFI behind it? Rumours are flying in the area that the assailant was a member of the PFI or the SDPI and had planned to assassinate the Congress legislator. However, this was yet to be confirmed by the cops who have taken the assailant into 12 day police custody. But going by the history, there are no instances of the PFI or SDPI trying to eliminate leaders of their own community.
Mr Tanveer Sait has been the face of minority Muslims in this part of region and enjoys a rapport with other communities too. On the face of it, it looks like an incident of enmity over some issue that needs to be found out. With SDPI gaining its ground slowly in the minority dominated NR constituency, this has become a big threat for the very existence of the century-old party in old Mysuru region. In 2018 assembly polls, Mr Sait managed to win by a whisker because of a tough fight from the SDPI candidate.
Why SDPI became stronger: Prof Muzzafar Assadi, chairman, Department of Political Sciences, University of Mysore, said post-Babri masjid demolition in Ayodya in 1992, the Muslims felt insecure, became afraid and lost confidence in the Congress. At that time, the PFI took birth in Kerala and later became the SDPI and started to spread its activities in Karnataka. It found easy acceptance at least in three places – Mangaluru, Mysuru and Shivamogga – strongholds of Hindutva.
The PFI was likened to 'the RSS of the Muslims' due to the instigating and fiery speech by leaders which attracted the youth living in slums doing ordinary jobs. The PFI posed itself as the messiah of Muslims, and started taking the place of Congress. Then it emerged as SDPI, a new political force that gave a good competition to the Congress. It almost defeated Mr Sait in N.R. constituency in previous election. It won two seats in Mangalore City Corporation election besides bagging a couple of seats in Mangalore zilla panchayat. The Congress may be pushed to the nadir in the coming years if it fails to correct its mistakes, he said.
Prof Assadi said the Congress lacks consistency on its stand when it comes to the issue of minorities. Sometimes it portrays itself as pro-minority on certain issues and pro-Hindu on others. Unlike BJP, the Congress has not dared to claim itself as pro-minority and this was being taken advantage by other parties. In 2018 Assembly polls if the Congress Muslim candidates won the elections, it was because of the then CM Siddaramaiah. Today the SDPI may be in three to four districts, but it will definitely spread to other districts if it gets a good leader like Owaisi.
Sensitive area: The people of Mysuru have not forgotten the infamous Kyathamaranahalli riots which took lives and disturbed the social fabric of Mysuru. Since then, there has been clear division among two communities in this part of city. A sense of belonging is still missing and people are still viewed with suspicion. The efforts by BJP to consolidate the Hindu votes have not yielded results. Other political entities like the SDPI have entered the political arena to cut the Congress votes.
“What you see is and what is the reality is totally different. Everything may look calm and quiet but we don't know when it will become tense. Not that there was harmony earlier, but it was not lacking either," said Nagaraj, a petty shop owner.