Bengaluru: As the assembly elections inch closer, the political landscape in Karnataka has witnessed a dramatic turn of events as four-time MLC Puttanna, a prominent leader from South Karnataka, resigned from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joined the Congress on Thursday.
This development comes as a major blow to the BJP ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in the state, especially as two other ministers from the same region have reportedly distanced themselves from party activities.
Meanwhile, Mandya MP Sumalatha is reportedly set to join the BJP before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mandya.
Puttanna, who was elected to the legislative council from the Bengaluru Teachers’ constituency, said that he was unable to deliver under the current situation in the BJP.
BJP not able to come to terms with decisive verdict in K'taka, its online hate factory working overtime: Cong
“Not a single demand of teachers has been fulfilled in the state. The teachers staged day and night protests for 142 days. Two of them committed suicide. Their 30 to 40 meetings with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai turned out to be futile. I have not seen such a corrupt scenario in my 20 years of political career. My conscience is pricking me for joining the BJP,” he said.
Karnataka Congress in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, and state Congress chief D.K. Shivakumar welcomed Puttanna into the party at the Congress headquarters in Bengaluru. Siddaramaiah said that Puttanna has resigned from his post despite four years of his term pending and also resigned from the primary membership of the BJP. “He is fed up with Hindutva provocations,” Siddaramaiah added.
Sources suggest that two ministers from the same region, V. Somanna, and M.C. Narayana Gowda, are also ready to join the Congress.
In another development, former MLA Nandish Reddy was absent from the Vijaya Sankalpa Yatra led by BJP National President JP Nadda in KR Pura. It is being said that he is likely to join Congress.
Additionally, there are reports of attempts to pit ex-upper house member Mohan Limbikai against MLA Aravind Bellad of Hubli West constituency, who had raised the flag of rebellion against former CM BS Yediyurappa. Limbikai has held talks with senior Congress leaders regarding this, sources said.
(With IANS inputs)