Siddramaiah convenes meeting of supporters

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Bangalore, Jul 7 (UNI) 'Disgruntled' Congress leader Siddaramaiah is holding talks with his close aides in the city amidst the rumours that he may switch over to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by quitting his Karnataka Assembly seat.

Reports said the former Deputy Chief Minister is sore with the Congress which had failed to 'accommodate' him in any responsible post.

During the last two days the BJP had succeeded in roping in four legislators -- two each from the Congress and Janatadal(S), who have since resigned to their seats and is tipped to contest in the by-polls on BJP ticket.

This comes in the wake of the saffron party, which fell three seats short of simple majority by securing 110 seats, had formed the government with the support of six legislators. The party, keen to have a majority of its own, had roped in the four legislators and more were to follow, party sources claim.

Mr Siddaramaiah is leaving for Mauritius on a five-day vacation tonight. The meeting to be held before he leaves tonight has given rise to speculation that he too may join the BJP shortly.

He has not been a happy man ever since he joined the Congress from JD(S), after falling out with that party President H D Deve Gowda, as he had not been given 'his due' by the party.

Reports said Mr Siddaramaiah was likely to join the BJP. However this had been initially denied by this prominent leader from the Old Mysore area.

"Parties have routinely induced defections after elections are held and the recent incident is not isolated happening. But me joining BJP is only a speculation. I am holding a meeting of my supporters today to discuss about such reports," he said.

Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah's close aide Satish Jarkiholi, the Congress legislator from Yamakanmardi in Belgaum district, said he along with the other supporters, which includes half a dozen legislators, would abide by what ever decision Mr Siddaramaiah took.

"We will not take any decision on our own but go along with our leader, whatever be his decision," he said.

Satish's brother Balachandra Jarkiholi, a former minister from JD(S) representing Arabhavi in Belgaum district, was one among the four legislators who joined the BJP during the last two days. The other three were Anand Ashnotikar of Congress, Shivangouda Naik and J Narasimhaswamy both from JD(S).

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