Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G. Parameshwara has said that several leaders, including former legislators, are expected to join the Congress on Saturday.

Those who joined the party on Wednesday include the former MLA from Virajpet H.D. Basavaraj, the former MLA from Holalkere A.B. Umapathy, the former MLA from Tumkur H. Ningappa, apart from MLC M.D. Laxminarayan and several Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) leaders from Tumkur.

Addressing KPCC members after admitting Mr. Laxminarayan to the Congress, Dr. Parameshwara said many more leaders, including former MLAs and workers of other political parties, were set to join the Congress on Saturday.

Dr. Parameshwara pooh-poohed the claims of Narendra Modi, BJP prime ministerial candidate, on the ‘Gujarat model’ of development and countered it by saying that Karnataka had stood first in the country in terms of development when S.M. Krishna was the Chief Minister. The Congress alone was committed to and could provide social justice to all sections of people and ensure development, he claimed.

BJP, JD(S) criticised

Criticising both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (Secular) for “failing” to live up to the expectations of people in the State in the last 10 years, Dr. Parameshwara said their regimes had thrown up corrupt leaders who even served jail terms. Disillusioned people of the State, who were yearning for a change since 2004, brought back the Congress to power 10 months ago. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had acted swiftly to implement most of the assurances held out in the party’s election manifesto in this period, he claimed.

The issues and problems during the Lok Sabha elections were different and people were aware of the achievements of the Congress-led UPA-I and UPA-II governments at the Centre, he claimed.

Mr. Laxminarayan, who was spearheading the cause of disgruntled followers of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, alleged that some BJP leaders visited his home on Tuesday night to coax him to join their party. “They tried to hijack me,” he said. But he mustered courage not to budge, he added.

Mr. Laxminarayan accused the BJP of neglecting the backward classes and doing nothing for its leaders, except a couple of them. He was convinced that if people from backward sections, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes could get social justice, only the Congress could provide it. “I have joined the Congress unconditionally,” he declared.

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