Bengaluru: Former MLA for Hirekerur U.B. Banakar is all set to join the Congress, in what is seen as a big boost to the opposition in Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s home district of Haveri.
Banakar will join the Congress in a ceremony scheduled to be held on the evening of November 21 where KPCC President DK Shivakumar, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, and other leaders are expected to be present.
On November 9, Banakar announced his resignation from the primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the post of chairman of the Karnataka Warehousing Corporation and director of the Veerashaiva Lingayat Development Corporation.
Banakar was elected twice to the Karnataka legislature from Hirekerur – once in 1994 on a BJP ticket and then in 2013 on the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) ticket. He had strongly opposed when B C Patil joined BJP after quitting Congress in 2019. Ever since there was had been a power struggle between followers of Patil and Banakar at Hirekerur.
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Banakar decided to join the Congress after holding a meeting of his supporters and gathering their opinions. It is highly likely that he will contest from the Hirekerur constituency on a Congress ticket in the Karnataka Assembly elections.
The party leaders are of the opinion that with the addition of Bankar, the strength of Congress will increase in the Hirekerur constituency. A former BJP leader joining the Congress in CM’s home district has come as a big jolt to the saffron party.