With the Karnataka Assembly elections round the corner, the political churn in the state is gathering strength, with the Congress welcoming an estranged legislator and a once close aide of former prime minister and JD(S) stalwart HD Deve Gowda.
Independent MLA from Mulbagal H Nagesh and former JD(S) legislator YSV Datta were those who joined the party on Saturday, 14 January.
Nagesh, a former minister, was supporting the ruling BJP until recently, while Datta was once a close aide of Deve Gowda.
Nagesh was among the 17 MLAs who quit the Congress-JD(S) coalition government, leading to its collapse in 2019 — and bringing the BJP to power.
Charter to Mumbai
Photos of Nagesh being flown to Mumbai in a charter flight by leaders of BJP in 2019 as part of “Operation Kamala” had gone viral.
Nagesh extended support to the BJP and helped the party come to power in Karnataka under BS Yediyurappa and was sworn-in as a Cabinet minister.
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He was eventually dropped from the Cabinet.
Nagesh met Congrese President DK Shivakumar last week expressing his interest to join the party.
The two leaders joined the party along with their supporters at the KPCC office in the presence of state president DK Shivakumar and legislature party leader Siddaramaiah, among others.
Nagesh is said to be hoping for a Congress ticket from Mulbagal seat.
Stating that he will strive to strengthen the Congress party, he said that supporters from neighbouring Mahadevapura constituency were also asking him to contest from there, and that he would leave it to the high command to decide.
He said he would mobilise support of the SCs and STs in favour of the Congress party.
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A JD(S) veteran
Datta, a veteran JD(S) leader and a former MLA from Kadur in Chikkamagaluru district, had last month announced his decision to join the Congress.
He is likely to seek a ticket from the Kadur segment once again.
Speaking to reporters, Datta said he was joining Congress as it is a like-minded party and he could relate to its ideology. “Will work hard for the party’s victory in the days ahead.”
‘More to come’
KPCC chief Shivakumar, after inducting both leaders into the party, said this was just a beginning and more leaders would join the party in the days to come.
“We have our own political calculations. We have the support of cadres and leaders,” Shivakumar said while justifying Nagesh’s return to the Congress after he left the party high and dry in 2019.
Congress legislative party chief Siddaramaiah, who had in the past sworn not to allow “turncoats” back into the party, was compelled to accept the party’s decision to welcome Nagesh back.
(With inputs from PTI)