Season of defections show no sign of abating in Karnataka

In the "season of defections" ahead of May five Karnataka Assembly polls, two more BJP MLAs—Pratap Gowda Patil and T H Suresh Babu—quit ruling party as churning in the political landscape continued.

Last Updated: Apr 06, 2013, 17:38 PM IST

Bangalore: In the "season of defections" ahead of May five Karnataka Assembly polls, two more BJP MLAs -- Pratap Gowda Patil and T H Suresh Babu -- quit the ruling party on Saturday as churning in the political landscape continued.
Patil (Maski constituency) claimed that he has been assured a Congress ticket from the same segment, while Babu would contest on the ticket of BSR Congress, a party floated by former BJP Minister B Sriramulu, from Kampli, which he represented in the outgoing Assembly.

According to party sources, another BJP MLA G Somasekara Reddy, brother of jailed former Minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy, is likely to follow suit in the coming days. Somasekara has been identified with BSR Congress for many months now.

BJP, which came a cropper in the recent elections to urban local bodies in Bellary, appears set for another setback in the district as Tourism Minister Anand Singh, representing Vijayanagara there, is all set to quit the party on April nine and contest as an independent, sources said.

Janardhana Reddy`s brother G Karunakara Reddy, who has been keeping a low profile for several months, is seeking re-election on BJP ticket from Harapanahalli in the neighbouring Davangere district.

Meanwhile, B S Yeddyurappa, leader of breakaway party, Karnataka Janata Paksha, today accused the ruling BJP of entering into an electoral understanding with the JDS of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.

"Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa says his party would form government with the JDS. This means that BJP has accepted that it can`t come to power on its own. BJP and JDS have distributed tickets in tandem", Yeddyurappa alleged.

A political heavyweight, he dismissed suggestions in some quarters that he would return to the BJP fold, debunking it as a "mischief" and "conspiracy". "I will not rejoin the BJP in my life", Yeddyurappa asserted.

All the three main parties -- the BJP (140 constituencies), Congress (177) and JDS (122) -- announced candidates to majority of segments yesterday, deferring finalisation of "contentious seats".

They are slated to announce candidates early next week for the remaining seats of the 224-member Assembly poll.

The ruling BJP would formally kick off its campaign at a mega rally here on Monday, with a battery of speakers led by top party leaders Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.