Bengaluru: Even as loyalists of Kuruba strongman and former CM Siddaramaiah try to pin down original Congressmen for absenting themselves from the ongoing bypoll campaign, former Union minister C.M. Ibrahim considered a Siddaramaiah loyalist, has left for a tour of the Middle-East in the middle of the campaign!
With Mr Ibrahim on a foreign tour, former minister Tanveer Sait still recovering from an attack and another former minister, Zameer Ahmed Khan seen as a 'liability' with his name linked to the IMA investor scam, the Siddaramaiah led camp is under a lot of pressure of late. The main problem they are facing is the lack of a ‘credible and recognisable pan-Karnataka Muslim face. There are of course former ministers like U.T. Khader and Naseer Ahmed but they will not be enough to draw minority community votes during the bypolls, say sources.
Meanwhile, the Siddaramaiah camp is putting up a brave face by asserting that there's no alternative (TINA) factor and the Muslim electorate will ultimately rally behind Mr Siddaramiah.
Mr Ibrahim has more than once fallen out with Mr Siddaramaiah in the past only to rejoin his camp after hammering out differences. He is reportedly upset with Mr Siddaramaiah for not getting him the Congress ticket for the coveted Shivajinagar seat this time. He had also set his eyes on the prestigious post of Leader of the Opposition in the Council, but that post also eluded him. Sources said Mr Ibrahim considered himself the most suited candidate for Shivajinagar after Congress veteran R. Roshan Baig fell out with Mr Siddaramaiah. “Except for Mr Baig and Mr Katta Subramanya Naidu, none of the candidates have succeeded in winning this seat twice. This applies to Mr Ibrahim as well, who was a Janata parivar MLA from 1978-83.
Mr Ibrahim even fired a salvo at Mr Siddaramaiah just before leaving for Middle-East, stating that he opposes the former CM’s style of organising Tipu Jayanti. “He said this at a function in Vijayapura soon after realising that he would not get the Shivajinagar ticket and on the same day fired another missile against the veteran leader stating that the Congress and its leaders need to focus more on highlighting the plight of farmers who had faced the worst ever floods.”...