Mysuru: In a blow to JD(S) headed by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, seven party rebel former MLAs on Sunday joined the ruling Congress.
The rebel MLAs had resigned from Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Saturday, a day after they cross-voted in favour of the Congress candidates in the March 23 Rajya Sabha biennial election in the state.
Zameer Ahmed Khan, Chaluvaraya Swamy, Iqbal Ansari, Balakrishna, Ramesh Bandisiddegowda, Bheema Nayak and Akhanda Srinivas Murthy were welcomed into the party fold by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi at a public rally in the poll-bound Karnataka. Along with them, former JDS MLCs M C Nanaiah, Sarovar Srinivas and B Ramakrishna also joined the Congress.
Seven rebel Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs join Congress in a public rally of Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Mysuru earlier today; #Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was also present pic.twitter.com/1QWzsjrqVz
— ANI (@ANI) March 25, 2018
The votes cast by seven JDS rebel MLAs in the Rajya Sabha biennial election and also support of independents had helped the Congress win the third seat as a bonus, though it had the strength only to bag two seats for sure. Despite the shortfall in its strength with 37 members, including seven rebels, as against the required 44 votes, JDS had also fielded its candidate but boycotted the poll midway alleging electoral malpractice by the Congress in "collusion" with the returning officer.
Meanwhile, in KR Pete on Sunday, Rahul asked Janata Dal (Secular) to come clean on its support to the BJP. "JD(S), they have to make it clear whether they are the BJP's B team or not. They (JD-S) have to make it clear whether they are supporting the BJP, if yes, why?, he asked at a public meeting in the Vokkaliga belt of the old Mysuru region, considered a JD(S) stronghold.
On Saturday too, Rahul had dubbed JD(S) a "B-team" of BJP and had nicknamed JD(S) as "Janata Dal Sangh Parivar.". Taking on the JD(S), he had said 'S' in JD(S) stood for secular, "but in this election, they have got a new name JD(S) - Janata Dal Sangh Parivar."
The Congress chief had further said that the coming Assembly polls was a face-off between two ideologies - on one side BJP and RSS and on the other the Congress.
"In between, there is the third party which is the B team of BJP that is JD(S)," he had said at a public rally in Malavalli in Mandya district.
Rahul had told the gathering, "I will tell you. Let BJP's A team, B team or C team come together. Congress party is going to win this election."
(With PTI inputs)