BANGALORE, August 28: The crisis-ridden Janata Dal (Secular) is all set to elect a new State unit chief following the resignation of H.D. Kumaraswamy, even as most senior leaders in the party appear unenthusiastic about donning the mantle.
Mr. Kumaraswamy announced that he would quit from the party chief’s post owning moral responsibility for the trouncing of the party in the Lok Sabha byelections in Mandya and Bangalore Rural.
Party national president H.D. Deve Gowda has convened a meeting on Wednesday to discuss various issues, including the defeat in the bypolls and the election of new State unit chief. With the party’s credentials dented following the electoral understanding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the byelections, the new State party chief will have many challenges on hand.
Janata Dal(S) spokesperson Y.S.V. Datta said that top leaders of the party would meet and shortlist names for the post. Mr. Kumaraswamy has convened a meeting of the Legislature Party on Thursday to elect a new Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly which post he quit, immediately after the announcement of byelection results. “In all probability the party’s new State chief will take charge in the next 10 days,” he added.
According to sources in the Janata Dal(S), names of senior leaders, including P.G.R. Sindhia, Basangouda Patil Yatnal, A. Krishnappa, M.C. Nanaiah, Sakleshpur MLA H.K. Kumaraswamy, minority leaders Abdul Azeem and Iqbal Ansari and the former Minister Basavaraj S. Horatti are being considered for the post.
Considering the debacle in the byelections, which distanced the minority from the party, Mr. Deve Gowda might opt for either Iqbal Ansari or Abdul Azeem, it is believed.
However, Mr. Deve Gowda is in a dilemma, as the elevation of Abdul Azeem might annoy Chamarajpet MLA Zameer Ahmed, a “trusted lieutenant” of Mr. Kumaraswamy, at a time when the Congress is trying to woo him, a senior party leader said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Horatti said that he has communicated to the party leadership his “inability” to accept the post.
Mr. Nanaiah too has taken a similar stand.
Executive president of the party P.G.R. Sindhia is not averse to accepting the responsibility but “only if the election is unanimous and without any differences”, he said. His other condition was that Mr. Kumaraswamy should extend “complete cooperation”.
“Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Deve Gowda are the true faces of the Janata Dal(S) and it is a fact that they bring votes to the party. I do not think anyone in the party would be able to fill that void,” he observed.
Dalit leader H.K. Kumaraswamy is also not keen on accepting the post at this juncture.
“The position needs leadership skills and demands time. As an MLA, I cannot dedicate time to that task,” he said.