Former Congress minister joins BJP in Karnataka

Bengaluru, Jan 2 (IANS) Congress leader and former Karnataka Minister V. Srinivasa Prasad on Monday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“I have joined the BJP to strengthen its presence in the state and help Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the development front,” Prasad told reporters at the BJP officer after he was formally enrolled into the party at a function attended by top leaders including Union Ministers H.N. Ananth Kumar and D.V Sadananda Gowda, and state chief B.S. Yeddyurappa.

The veteran Dalit leader, who represents Nanjangud (reserved) constituency in Mysuru district since 2008, was appointed Revenue Minister in the Siddaramaiah government in May 2013 but dropped last July in a major reshuffle. He had resigned from the seat in October and had in recent time, indicated he would be joining the BJP.

“I was deeply hurt as Siddaramaiah, whom I know for years, dropped me from the cabinet unceremoniously and without even giving a hint,” he said.

“I have joined the BJP after the people in my constituency endorsed my decision to quit the Congress during my interaction with them at Nanjungud, Chamarajangar and T.Narsippura,” he added.

Prasad said he will contest on the BJP ticket in the Nanjangud assembly by-election due in February.

Hundreds of Prasad’s supporters and Congress cadres in the district are set to join the BJP and campaign for his victory in the bye-poll, which is seen as crucial, since Siddaramaiah hails from the same region.

A five-time Lok Sabha lawmaker from the Chamarajanagar (reserved) Lok Sabha constituency for Congress member from 1980 to 1996, when he resigned and joined the Janata Dal-United, he won it in the 1999 elections on a JD-U ticket.

Prasad, who also served as Civil Supplies Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government (1999-2004), had rejoined the Congress in 2008.