Former minister C H Vijayshankar announced on Monday that he would formally join the Congress within a fortnight.
Vijayshankar, who joined the BJP from the Congress, in 1991 has been an MLA, MP, MLC and state forest minister. He has lost the past two Lok Sabha elections. While he lost against his own community leader A H Vishwanath in 2009 in the Mysuru-Kodagu constituency, he lost against former prime minister H D Deve Gowda in 2014, in Hassan.
It is actually a homecoming for Vijayshankar, who was Hunsur taluk Congress president when he quit the party. In the BJP, he was asking for a ticket from the Periyapatna Assembly constituency. The leaders had promised to consider his plea before the elections. However, Vijayshankar suspected that he would be made a scapegoat again by pitching him against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency, where sitting MLA G T Devegowda of the JD(S) is also a strong contender.
Recently, Vijayshankar tendered his resignation as state BJP Raitha Morcha president and also to his primary membership of the party. He said he was hurt by the way the BJP leaders were treating him of late. "I have discussed the issue with my well-wishers and most of them advised me to join the Congress. I have also held discussions with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. I will return to my parent party," he said.
However, the move of Vijayshankar is seen as a ploy of Siddaramaiah to checkmate former MP A H Vishwanath, who left the Congress to join the JD(S). Vishwanath, who also belongs to the Kuruba community like Siddaramaiah and Vijayshankar, has been criticising Siddaramaiah. Following Siddaramaiah's announcement that he would contest from Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency, Vishwanath has teamed up with MLA G T Devegowda and former minister V Srinivas Prasad, another bete noire of Siddaramaiah, who quit the Congress to join the BJP. The trio have resolved to trounce Siddaramaiah in the upcoming polls, it is learnt.
A BJP leader, who wished to remain anonymous said, Vijayshankar is a spent force. "He could achieve nothing in the Congress. He was made MLA from Hunsur as soon as he joined the BJP. He has enjoyed several posts in the party. The party has given him everything possible. Now also, he is not capable of facing any election. In Periyapatna too, where he claims to have sought BJP ticket, he has no network. Frankly speaking, he has no base in any constituency. Even as Raitha Morcha president, he was a failure. Considering his seniority, the leaders tried to retain him in the party. Siddaramaiah is using him as a scapegoat. Now that he joins the Congress, will the party give him a ticket in Periyapatna, bypassing sitting MLA K Venkatesh?" he sought to know.