Bengaluru: Former member of Parliament from Mysuru, Adagur H. Vishwanath, joined Janata Dal (Secular) on Tuesday, severing four decades of ties with the Congress.
At least 30 other state, district and local leaders in Karnataka have also joined the JD(S) which has been working to muster support ahead of the 2018 state assembly polls.
Vishwanath, who’s from the state’s Kuruba community, leaves Congress at a time when senior party leaders have been raising concerns over the style of functioning of chief minister Siddaramaiah, who they say does not acknowledge the contribution of senior leaders.
The exodus of senior leaders could make things harder for Siddaramaiah who has been named to lead the party into the assembly election next year much to the disappointment of many within the party who were seeking a change at the helm.
Vishwanath said he would work towards bringing the JD(S) back to power in the state next year. The senior leader had fallen out with Siddaramaiah in recent months. Vishwanath says he was one of the people who brought Siddaramaiah into the Congress from JD(S)—a claim the chief minister denies.
In May, Vishwanath had written a letter to K.C. Venugopal, party general secretary and Karnataka in-charge, saying he was likely to leave the party as he was sidelined by Siddaramaiah. Venugopal had responded saying he would make sure Vishwanath reconsidered his decision.
Vishwanath’s entry into JD(S) is likely to strengthen the party’s position in Mysuru—a region strongly contested by the JD(S) and Congress.
H.D. Kumaraswamy, a former chief minister and JD(S) state president said it was Siddaramaiah’s arrogance that he had himself forgotten his political roots. Siddaramaiah left JD(S) to join the Congress in 2006.
In January, former chief minister and veteran Congress leader S.M. Krishna joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after complaining of being sidelined.
V. Srinivas Prasad and Jayaprakash Hegde are also among scores of leaders who have quit the Congress, an exodus that Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G.Parameshwara have not been able to contain