Bengaluru, Apr 5: Former Karnataka Minister, senior leader and a prominent Muslim face of the Congress party, Nafees Fazal, has resigned from the party and is all set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party. She has been actively associated with the Congress since 1978.
Two days after former chief minister SM Krishna joined BJP, many of his ex-ministerial colleagues are expected to follow him. Considered among his inner circle, his ex-colleague Nafees Fazal is expected to join BJP. Sources said she could be the face of the minority when the state goes to Assembly polls in 2018.
Nafees has reportedly voiced her opinion against the practice of ‘Triple Talaq’ and supported the concern raised by the Modi Government and the steps it has taken to improve a lot of the so affected Muslim women.
According to reliable sources both in BJP and state Congress unit, Nafeesa who held several important portfolios in SM Krishna government between 1999 and 2004, is expected to join the BJP next week.
A top BJP leader said that Nafees, who is one of the influential faces of Congress may join the party anytime.
"Nafees is one of the elite leaders of Bengaluru having her own fan following. She is ideal to attract minority faces, especially in Bengaluru, for party lacks a charismatic face from Muslim community," he said.
In 2008 elections, BJP had promoted Mumtaz Ali Khan as its minority face. However, after his resignation, the party was in search of a leader who could leverage minority votes to the party.
Taking a dig at the Congress leadership, Nafees Fazal recalled how the then Rajiv Gandhi government had nullified the Supreme Court decision in the Shah Bano case just to placate the Muslims clergy and their followers overlooking the interest and honour of the Muslim women. Unable to withstand the heat generated over the Supreme Court verdict in the Shah Bano case, the Congress government then cancelled the court verdict.
Since then, the mullahs and maulanas have started wearing a new garb of statements heavily loaded with either political or regressive cultural narration that only put the Muslim community in the bad light, she said.
The powerful Muslim leader also revealed how she suffered at the hands of the Muslim men in Karnataka in her political career. “I had faced criticism from Muslim men in Karnataka when I wanted to contest polls from there”, she said adding that they did not want that women should be their competitor.
Appreciating the stand adopted by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of Triple Talaq, she said that this motivated her to quit the Congress party that posed itself as the only guardian of the Muslims but has not done anything for the Muslim women.
She felt being ignored by the Congress President Sonia Gandhi twice. In a resignation letter sent to Sonia Gandi, Nafees said that the reasons were best known to ‘her’. “I was unable to get an appointment to meet you and share my grievances with you. From then onwards I was humiliated and insulted by the state Muslim leaders as our Chief Minister being new to the party, gave them a free hand”.
The meeting with Rahul Gandhi was also humiliating. When she met Rahul Gandhi last year with a request to nominate her as a member of the legislative council, the latter was very angry and irritating. Rahul is too immature to lead the party, she said.
With Karnataka facing the elections to State Assembly next year, Nafees quitting Congress could be a big blow to the party. The BJP might benefit from the support of the Muslim women amongst whom she commands leadership. Otherwise, also the move is so significant that it show that the Muslim women are finally mustering the courage to speak up against the social evil called triple talaq.