Bengaluru: Independent MLA H Nagesh and former JD(S) legislator Y S V Datta on Saturday joined the Congress, ahead of Assembly polls in Karnataka.
Nagesh, a former minister, was supporting the ruling BJP until recently, while Datta was once a close aide of JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.
They joined the party along with their supporters at the KPCC office here in the presence of state president D K Shivakumar and legislature party leader Siddaramaiah, among other leaders.
Nagesh, who represents Mulbagal Assembly segment, had supported the Congress-JD(S) coalition government and served as a minister for small-scale industries in the H D Kumaraswamy-led cabinet in 2018.
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Subsequently, during the resignation and defection by some Congress and JD(S) MLAs, that eventually led to the fall of the coalition government, Nagesh too had withdrawn his support, and backed the BJP.
He was later made Excise Minister in the B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government, but was dropped in January 2021, and was made Chairman of B R Ambedkar Development Corporation. He is said to have been sulking since then.
Nagesh is said to be hoping for a Congress ticket from Mulbagal seat.
Stating that he will strive to strengthen the Congress party, he however said that supporters from neighbouring Mahadevapura constituency were also asking him to contest from there, and that he will leave it for the high command to decide.
He said he will mobilise support of the SCs and STs in favour of the Congress party.
Datta, who also joined Congress today, is a veteran JD(S) leader and someone who was considered to be close to Deve Gowda. The former MLA from Kadur in Chikkamagaluru district had last month announced his decision to join Congress. He is likely to seek a ticket from the Kadur segment once again.
Speaking to reporters, Datta said he was joining Congress as it is a like-minded party and can relate to its ideology. “Will work hard for the party’s victory in the days ahead.” KPCC chief Shivakumar, after inducting both leaders into the party, said this was just a beginning and more leaders would join the party in the days to come.