Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The former Karnataka Chief Minister, S. Bangarappa, on Saturday formally rejoined the Congress three years after he left the party.

Announcing his return, All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said it was his “last homecoming” and would help the party and secular forces in the State, while Mr. Bangarappa himself said he was happy. “This is to keep the communal forces at bay and out of power,” he told a press conference here.

Mr. Bangarappa, who had recently resigned as a member of the Lok Sabha and as State president of Samajwadi Party, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi earlier in the day.

Asked whether the Congress would tie up with any regional party in Karnataka, Mr. Azad said options were open in a democracy but there was no such agreement so far.