JD(S) Bellary candidate quits party, joins Congress

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Bangalore, May 12 (UNI) Janata Dal(S) today received another jolt when its candidate Diwakar Babu contesting from Bellary Assembly segment, which goes to the polls in the second phase on May 16, quit the party and joined the Congress.

Mr Babu had actually quit Congress after he was denied the ticket from the segment and contested on the JD(S) ticket in protest against the party giving preference to Mr Anil Lad who had jumped onto Congress bandwagon from BJP.

The highly volatile elections in Bellary city, which had seen a number of 'mining money bags' in this mineral-rich district entering the fray, took a new turn with Mr Babu's return to Congress.

The Congress, which is determined to regain its lost ground in the district had roped in Mr Lad, a noted mine owner to pit against the BJP leader and former Mayor Somashekar Reddy.

In its bid to avoid the split of 'anti-BJP' votes, the Congress today succeeded in persuaded Mr Diwakar Babu, who would now retire from the contest as the JD(S) candidate.

Film star and Union Minister M H Ambareesh had played a key role in bringing Mr Babu back to Congress to dilute the BJP's hold in the district which had turned into a bastion of the saffron party by 'mine magnets' Karunakara Reddy MP, Janardhana Reddy (MLC), and former Minister Sriramulu.

It may be recalled that the Congress to bolster its forces in the district, had roped-in former JD(S) leader and former Deputy Chief Minister M P Prakash and fielded him from Harapanahalli.

Mr Prakash is fighting Karunakara Reddy, who is seeking entry into the state legislature.

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