Two BSY aides join Congress

Former legislators Mallikarjunappa, Balraj join party ahead of LS polls

In what could be perceived as a jolt to the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections especially in Chamarajanagar segment, two former legislators from the district and the staunch supporters of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa switched over to Congress in the city on Wednesday.

Former MLC K R Mallikarjunappa and former MLA Balraj were formally inducted into Congress at a hotel here, in the presence of Revenue and District in-charge Minister V Sreenivas Prasad, Cooperation Minister and Chamarajanagar district in-charge H S Mahadev Prasad also the president of Chamarajanagar district Congress unit, sitting MP and Congress nominee (from Ch’nagar) R Dhruvanarayan.

Mallikarjunappa and Balraj had followed Yeddyurappa into Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) from BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) respectively. Mallikarjunappa who was the BJP MLC representing Mysore-Chamarajanagar local bodies segment at that time, had quit as the legislator and had even contested the previous Assembly polls from Chamarajanagar on KJP ticket. However, he lost against sitting MLA of Congress C Puttarangashetty. Balaraj who had earlier been a MLA of Yalandur (later merged with Kollegal constituency post delimitation), had also unsuccessfully contested from KJP in Kollegal.

Hopefuls

The two were hopeful of contesting after their mentor Yeddyurappa renewed his ties with his parent party. However, Mallikarjunappa was left fuming when his request for a ticket to contest the parliamentary elections from Mysore-Kodagu segment was ignored.

 Mallikarjunappa was one among the three aspirants along with C H Vijayashankar and Madikeri MLA Appachchu Ranjan, who too were ignored, with the saffron party fielding journalist Prathapa Simha. Balraj had remained neutral.

Mallikarjunappa told the media, “I am defecting to Congress, as the BJP ignored my advise against fielding A R Krishnamurthy for the ensuing polls from Chamarajanagar. Krishnamurthy had lost in the previous elections too,” he said.

Continuing, about his mentor, Mallikarjunappa said, “Yeddyurappa has become helpless after returning to the BJP, as he has been completely ignored by other leaders. I personally feel that he should not have returned to the saffron party,” he added.

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