Bangalore Bureau

Five MLAs from Opposition parties have joined BJP recently

BANGALORE: Noted Kannada actor and Congress MLA from Turuvekere, Jaggesh, on Thursday resigned from the Legislative Assembly to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mr. Jaggesh tendered his resignation to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Jagdish Shettar, and on the acceptance of the resignation, he officially crossed over to the BJP. With this, the number of MLAs from the Opposition parties who have quit their Assembly membership and joined the BJP in the last few days increased to five. Earlier, two members each from the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress had joined the BJP. Of these four defectors, three have been rewarded with ministerial posts while one has been appointed Chairman of Slum Clearance Board.

Two options

According to sources, Mr. Jaggesh has been given the option of either re-contesting from Turuvekere Assembly Constituency or the Tumkur Lok Sabha constituency. Mr. Jaggesh said he had taken the decision to quit the Congress only in the interest of development of his constituency.

Though the BJP was in talks with the Janata Dal (S) leader Umesh Katti to convince him to join its fold, it did not come to fruition as he is said to have insisted on getting a ministerial post. But all the ministerial vacancies have been filled up.

There is speculation that efforts are on to make a Minister from among the independent members to quit his ministerial post in favour of Mr. Katti. The party might give an alternative post of chairman of a board and corporation to that independent member if he quits the ministerial post.

Congress

Meanwhile, a large number of Congress leaders including legislators, Members of Parliament and district Congress committee presidents at the Congress Legislature Party meeting held here on Thursday, expressed their anguish over the desertion by legislators to join the BJP for the alleged “privileges and pelf” and vowed to defeat them should they contest the bye-elections.

The meeting was chaired by the Leader of Opposition and President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Mallikarjun Kharge and attended by senior leaders such as the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Veeranna Mathikatti, D.K. Shivakumar, Tejaswini Gowda, MP, and Mallajamma, MLC.

Senior leaders such as the former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramiah, who was on a visit to Mauritius and his supporters, including former minister V. Somanna, did not attend the meeting. It was attended by about 45 MLAs, 15 MLCs and three MPs. Mr. Kharge and Mr. Shivakumar made a scathing attack on Anand Asnotikar, Jaggesh and J. Narasimha Swamy for deserting the party and the voters and dubbed them ungrateful.

Congress leaders of Turuvekere in Tumkur district expressed their anguish over the defection of Mr. Jaggesh, who was elected as MLA from Turuvekere. They will hold a series of protests in the taluk against Mr. Jaggesh’s action.

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