Bengaluru: The BJP’s campaign in Karnataka Assembly polls today received a boost with six-time MLA Malikayya Venkayya Guttedar, an OBC leader, joining the party today.
BS Yeddyurappa, who is the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the election-bound State, and Union minister Prakash Javadekar made the announcement at a press conference, which was also attended by Guttedar, who is an MLA from Afzalpur in Gulbarga district.
The MLA was recently expelled from the Congress after reports appeared that he may leave the party and join the BJP. According to Karnataka Congress president G Parameshwara, Guttedar, a former minister, was expelled for his “anti-party” activities.
That day Guttedar had met with Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa and it was clear he would join the party in Mysuru on 30 or 31 March during party president Amit Shah’s visit, but the BJP and the MLA took some time to settle the expectations from either side.
The MLA had rebelled against the INC after he was not considered for a ministerial berth in the recent Cabinet reshuffle in the Siddaramaiah government. Guttedar had hit out at the INC leadership last month. “There is no respect and reward for senior loyal leaders in the Congress,” he had said. He had serious differences with Mallikarjun Kharge who had inducted son Priyank Kharge into the ministry ignoring senior leaders like Guttedar.
Yeddyurappa said Guttedar’s presence in the party would boost its chances, especially in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region of the State.
Guttedar represents the town of Afzalpur in the district of Gulbarga in Karnataka’s Legislative Assembly.
Earlier, Janata Dal (S) leader and the former Mayor of Mysuru Sandesh Swamy had quit the party to join the BJP. Swamy, who is the brother of JD(S) MLC Sandesh Nagaraj, sent his resignation letter to JD(S) State president HD Kumaraswamy on 30 March.
The JD(S) is facing a stiff resistance against the nomination for rebel JD(S) MLA Akhanda Srinivasmurthy from Pulakeshi Nagar constituency in Bengaluru. He was recently inducted into the INC, which did not go down well with four-time MLA from the constituency and senior INC leader Prasanna Kumar.
The BJP may field Yeddyurappa’s son BY Vijayendra from Varuna constituency in Mysuru, from where the party believes Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will contest the Assembly elections.
The Assembly polls are scheduled for 12 May in Karnataka.