M. Diwakar Babu likely to join Janata Dal (Secular)

M. Diwakar Babu

M. Diwakar Babu  

Staff Correspondent

Yet another jolt for the Congress in Bellary

He may join JD(S) during the visit of Kumaraswamy

He was reportedly unhappy with fellow Congress leaders

BELLARY: Even as the Congress is yet to recover from the series of jolts it has suffered in the recent past, it seems that it has to face one more jolt if the rumours that M. Diwakar Babu, former Minister, will be joining the Janata Dal (Secular) are true.

Sources close to Mr. Babu told The Hindu that unable to tolerate the reported “backstabbing” by his fellow leaders in the city, Mr. Babu had reportedly taken a decision to quit the Congress and join the Janata Dal (Secular).

Mr. Babu, who hails from the Mundlur family, which had been a centre of power in Bellary till the 2004 elections, represented Bellary city twice. Serving as president of Bellary City Municipal Council for a term, he, after being denied party ticket, contested the elections in 1994 as independent and defeated Congress’s official candidate S.J. Venkat Mahipal, son of the then Union Minister Basavarajeshwari.

Supporting the Janata Dal (Secular) Government headed by H.D. Deve Gowda, Mr. Babu officially joined the Congress in 1996 in the presence of the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, who had come here for election campaign.

His returning to the Congress proved to be advantageous as the party candidate K.C. Kondaiah secured more votes from Bellary Assembly segment and won the Lok Sabha election by a narrow margin of 4,519 votes.

After being elected to the Assembly for the second term in succession, Mr. Babu was inducted as a Minister of State in the S.M. Krishna Government. But by then, the Congress leaders in the district indulged themselves in a game of one-upmanship leading to the party faring poorly in the election to the urban local body that followed, and lost its hold over the Bellary City Municipal Council.

Since then, the Congress continued to suffer jolts one after the other and the Bharatiya Janata Party emerging victorious when it could clinch three of the eight assembly seats in the district, including Bellary city, in the 2004 elections followed by wresting control over the zilla panchayat and a couple of taluk panchayats.

Even after the setback, the Congress leaders continued to blame each other for the loss. As a result, the BJP, which was not a force till 1999, not only began gaining ground but also succeeded in wresting the Bellary Parliamentary seat, which was held by Congress since 1952, and swept the Bellary City Corporation elections. To one’s chagrin, Congress was unable to win even a single seat while the Bahujan Samaj Party, in its maiden attempt, of course with seat adjustment with Congress, managed to win two out of three wards it contested.

For those who have been watching the political developments, the rumours have not come as a surprise. For, a large number of Mr. Babu’s followers started migrating to Janata Dal (Secular) prior to the urban local body elections held in September last, indicating that it was a planned move of Mr. Babu.

Sources said that Mr. Babu has already had discussions with the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and has also got the green signal to contest in the coming elections as the party candidate from Bellary city constituency.

Mr. Babu is likely to join the party during the visit of Mr. Kumaraswamy to Bellary as part of his “Jaitra Yatra” shortly.

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