Bangarappa joins JD(S) to 'oust BJP'

Bangarappa joins JD(S) to 'oust BJP'

Bangarappa joins JD(S) to 'oust BJP'

The 78-year-old Bangarappa began his political career as a socialist, switched to the Congress, left to float the Karnataka Kranti Ranga, rejoined the Congress, left again to launch the Karnataka Congress Party, returned to the Congress, went to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), then joined the Samajwadi Party, and then went again back to the Congress before his latest shift.

Once a formidable leader of the backward classes in his home district of Shimoga, about 280 km from here, and Uttara Kannada district, 530 km away, Bangarappa has suffered steep erosion in his support base in the last five years.

He and his two sons were defeated in the 2008 assembly polls. His party hopping has split the family with one son, Kannada film actor Kumar Bangarappa, staying on in the Congress while the other son, Madhu, following the father.

JD-S president and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and his son and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy welcomed Bangarappa,  saying it would strengthen their party.

Bangarappa's switch-over comes ahead of the Dec 26 and Dec 31 polls to 176 taluka (sub-district) and 30 zilla panchayat  (district councils).

While the Congress has not reacted to Bangarappa leaving the party again, Kumar Bangarappa has said it would not have any impact on the party.

He had briefed central Congress leaders in New Delhi two days ago after his father announced he would leave the party. Later, Kumar told reporters the party was not worried about his father leaving it.

Bangarappa had won assembly elections seven times from his home town of Sorab in Shimoga. He had also won the Shimoga Lok Sabha four times - in 1996 on ticket of the Karnataka Congress Party he headed, in 1999 as a Congress nominee, in 2004 on a BJP ticket and 2005 as a SP candidate.

However, his bid re-enter the Lok Sabha as a Congress candidate in the 2009 polls did not succeed. He was defeated by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa's son B.Y. Raghavendra, who contested elections for the first time on a BJP ticket.