Bengaluru: For years, political stalwart Roshan Baig was seen as a minority leader in Karnataka Congress and a vote puller. But things have changed now.

By ending the rebellion in the Congress in Kundgol, which will witness Assembly by-election on May 19, and making rebels like Shivanand Bentur, Chandrashekhar Juttal, Suresh Savanur, Vishwanath Kubihal, HL Nadaf and GD Ghorpade support Kusumavathi, the wife of late minister CS Shivalli, minister Zameer Ahmed Khan has emerged as Congress’s new troubleshooter in the state.

Following the death of Shivalli, who represented Kundgol Assembly seat, Congress leaders like Bentur, a Kuruba and Siddaramaiah's follower, Juttal, a Valmiki, Savanur, a Maratha, Kubihal, a Panchamasali (Lingayat), Nadaf, a minority leader and Maratha strongman Ghorpade all wanted to see a change of guard and Bentur wanted to stake claim, and other leaders supported him. It was Zameer who took all the rebels into confidence to defuse the situation.

If one can recall, Zameer had also got back the rebels from Ballari who went to a Mumbai hotel to strike a deal with the BJP. The saffron party managed to get Ramesh Jarkiholi, JN Ganesh, Mahantesh Kumtahalli and Umesh Jadhav. Zameer managed to get Ganesh back in the nick of time.

Now too, Zameer is playing a major part. With Hazrath Ali Jodmani of the JD(S) also turning rebel and filing nomination from Kundgol, Zameer, along with JD(S) leaders reached out to him and convinced Jodmani to withdraw his nomination. With this, Zameer has cleared the path for Congress candidate Kusumavathi in the by-poll.

It is these skills that have made Zameer more popular than Baig who complained about him being sidelined in the party. Although Baig may not have anything personal against Zameer, the preference to Zameer over him has disappointed the Shivajinagar MLA.

His son Ruman Baig who is aspiring to contest from Shivajinagar Assembly candidate, said, "He was disappointed as his contribution was not valued. He is a visionary and he will remain the same. I want his status to be elevated as Rajya Sabha member so that I can contest from the Shivajinagar Assembly seat," said Ruman.

However, Zameer's close confidante and MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy said, "Zameer Ahmed's style of functioning is different and attracts public. Baig no doubt is a big leader but now its Zameer's time."

He also said Zameer’s skills are similar to DK brothers (DK Shivakumar and DK Suresh) who time and again have rescued the Congress whenever the party is in trouble.