Days ahead of the commencement of filing of nominations for the elections to the Legislative Assembly, a fresh political churning is on in Karnataka with a group of Ministers and some legislators expected to cross over to the Karnataka Janata Paksha from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The move has been on the cards for nearly three months, ever since the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa quit the BJP and walked over to the KJP. On three occasions it was stated that a group of Ministers would cross over to the KJP, and on every occasion it fell through at the last minute. It may be the case this time too, although a serious effort is on over the past one week to win them over.

Initially, the KJP had specified deadlines to the Ministers and legislators, which could have led to a collapse of the Bharatiya Janata Party government and having failed in its attempt, it has now decided to seek the support of the same people. Sources close to Mr. Yeddyurappa mentioned the names of four Ministers — M.P. Renukacharya, Murugesh Nirani, V. Somanna and Umesh V. Katti — and six legislators as those who will take the bite.

They will be joining independently and each occasion will be a party convention in itself to enable the leader concerned to gain a distinct advantage before the electorate of the constituency. Mr. Somanna, who is the Minister for Housing in the Jagadish Shettar government, told The Hindu: “I am away from Bangalore and I am yet to make up my mind.” He is at present a member of the Legislative Council after he lost a byelection soon after his admission to the BJP. “I am also undecided on contesting the elections to the Legislative Assembly,” he said.

BJP to be loser

It is expected to be a political realignment with heavyweights set to cross from one party to another with an eye on the Assembly elections. The BJP is expected to be a major loser with several of its leaders expected to join the Karnataka Janata Paksha. There are also others reportedly in discussion with the Janata Dal (Secular) although this is stated to be at an informal level.

Taking steps

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and the newly appointed president of the State unit of the BJP, Pralhad Joshi, will go through a testing time should the crossovers take place. Sources in the BJP told The Hindu that the party leadership has also taken note of the situation and is taking steps to checkmate a threat to the party and its government, which is nearing the end of its term given the fact that polling for the Assembly seats will be held on May 5 and counting of votes on May 8.

Interestingly, the KJP, which had initially left the choice to the BJP Ministers and legislators on associating with it, is now directly seeking the support of the close associates of the former Chief Minister. Added to this, the same group of Ministers and legislators had earlier made a vain bid to join the Congress, but the latter is believed to have rejected their admission outright.

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