Bengaluru: K.B. Koliwad, speaker of the Karnataka legislative assembly, on Thursday said he has accepted the resignation of former minister V. Srinivas Prasad despite the Congress party continuing to persuade the senior leader to reconsider his decision.

The 67-year-old Prasad, a five-time Member of Parliament and former Union minister, had resigned as MLA on 17 October after he was removed along with 13 other ministers in a cabinet reshuffle in June.

Prasad’s exit and likely entry into the opposition fold could hit the state’s ruling Congress party ahead of the 2018 assembly elections.

“We have done all we could to keep him in the party. Many of us have met him personally also," Dinesh Gundu Rao, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee working president said on Thursday in Bengaluru, while indicating that many of the party leaders continued to be in touch with the former legislator from Nanjangud (Mysore).

While he served as the revenue minister, Prasad had said he would not contest the next assembly election. But after tendering his resignation on Monday, he said he would now ensure chief minister Siddaramaiah’s defeat.

Prasad was not reachable for comment on Thursday.

“All I wanted was an honourable retirement," Prasad told reporters in Bengaluru on Monday while adding that the chief minister gave no indication of his removal, which hurt him.

“There has been no injustice done to Srinivas Prasad from the Congress government," Rao said.

Both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (Secular) stand to benefit from Prasad’s entry ahead of the elections and have kept in constant touch with him. “I am in touch with both the parties but said that he was not yet ready to make his decisions public on the “last leg of his electoral politics."

On Monday, Prasad alleged that there was a syndicate of six senior leaders in the party who had conspired against him and that he had been replaced by first-time MLAs, including Priyank Kharge, son of leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha and former Union minister Mallikarjuna Kharge. At least six newly inducted ministers were either sons or relatives of senior leaders, Mint reported.

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