Speculations are rife that former Minister and BJP MLC V. Somanna, who is not in the good books of party president B.S. Yeddyurappa, is knocking on the doors of the Congress once again ahead of the byelections to Nanjangud and Gundlupet Assembly constituencies.
Congress leaders have confirmed that Mr. Somanna is waiting to gain re-entry into the party he quit in 2009. Sources said the four-time MLA has already held one-round of talks with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the party high command. However, Mr. Somanna has denied any such efforts.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to stop the Lingayat leader from joining the Congress, former Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok on Friday held discussions with Mr. Somanna and promised him a good post in the party.
Leaders have reportedly advised him against quitting the party as differences in the BJP are largely between Mr. Yeddyurappa and Leader of the Opposition in the Council K.S. Eshwarappa, who is mentoring Sangolli Rayanna Brigade . Once close to Mr. Yeddyurappa, Mr. Somanna fell out of favour when he did not join the KJP launched by Mr. Yeddyurappa in 2013.
With byelections to two Assembly constituencies round the corner, the Congress is hunting for a Lingayat, who can mobilise the dominant community votes in Chamarajangar district. Following the demise of Minister H.S. Mahadeva Prasad, the Congress has no strong Lingayat leader in the Mysuru region.
However, Housing Minister M. Krishnappa and his son and MLA Priya Krishna, representing Vijayanagar and Govindararajanagr constituencies, respectively, have reportedly opposed fielding Mr. Somanna in either of the constituencies on the Congress ticket.