Bangarappa to quit Cong, likely to join JD(S)

Former chief minister S Bangarappa is all set to quit the Congress to join the JD(S). A formal announcement to this effect is likely to be made on Wednesday.

JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy met him at the latter’s residence in Bangalore on Sunday evening. Bangarappa’s decision comes at a time when all parties are gearing up for the panchayat elections.

Sources said Bangarappa is upset at being ‘sidelined’ by the Congress in selection of block party presidents, appointment of KPCC members and office-bearers to the party unit in Shimoga.

It is learnt that the party had entrusted the responsibility of selecting members to the Shimoga block unit and KPCC members to both Bangarappa and former minister Kagodu Thimmappa. They had jointly submitted the list to the organisational election committee of the party.

However, not only the recommendations were ignored by the panel but also the names recommended by his son Kumar Bangarappa were considered. It is a known fact that the father and son are not on good terms.

The senior Bangarappa had fixed Saturday evening as the deadline to the party to make ‘corrections’. But his demand was not considered. This has upset Bangarappa, it is said.

In addition, the former chief minister has learnt that some of his supporters would be denied tickets to contest zilla and taluk panchayat elections. Eventually this made him take a decision to leave the Congress. He sent word to Kumaraswamy on Sunday and reportedly expressed his willingness to join the JD(S).

HDK’s invitation

Speaking to reporters after holding a meeting with Bangarappa, Kumaraswamy said: “The Congress has not acknowledged Bangarappa’s contribution to the party. So, I have invited him to join the JD(S). I have taken his blessings. I am confident of doing better,” he said.

Bangarappa said, “Congress leaders have colluded with the BJP. Secular forces should unite to fight the BJP. I will take a decision in the next three or four days regarding the invitation extended by Kumaraswamy.”

Complimenting the JD(S) leader, Bangarappa said Kumaraswamy’s relentless fight against the BJP should be appreciated. The Congress and the JD(S) should have a tie-up in the elections to ensure that secular votes are not divided. The Congress should not have ignored the JD(S) just because it is a small party, he said.

Kumaraswamy is planning to strengthen his party in Shimoga by getting Bangarappa into the party. As a part of this strategy, Bangarappa’s followers may be fielded as JD(S) candidates, it is said.

The JD(S) may hold a mega convention in Shimoga to officially welcome Bangarappa to the party. Kumaraswamy is also trying to rope in Belur Gopalakrishna, the disqualified BJP MLA, to the JD(S), it is said.

Earlier in the day, Bangarappa in Mysore ridiculed the BJP by saying BJP leaders were popular for losing their election deposits. They have now come to power due to various reasons, he added.

Commenting on Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s statement that he will not step in the regions where the BJP loses, Bangarappa said voters will not be taken in by such statements.

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