Bajrang Dal leader joins JDS

Bangalore, Feb 20 (PTI) Close on the heels of sharing powerwith BJP in Mysore Zilla Panchayat, opposition JDS todayadmitted into its fold a sangh parivar leader, reportedlyinvolved in church attacks in Karnataka to "weaken communalforces and strengthen secular forces".

Former convenor of Bajrang Dal Mahendra Kumar today joinedJDS led by former Prime Minister H D Devegowda along with hissupporters from coastal and Malnad districts of Karnataka inthe presence of state unit JDS president H D Kumaraswamy.

Mahendra Kumar who was divested as the convenor of BajdrangDal after he owned responsibility for the 2008 church attackin parts of Mangalore and Chikmagalur and even jailed for sometime, lashed out at BJP which he accused as a "party that iscreating wedge between castes and communities for itssurvial".

"I am today shedding the shackles of communalism to strivefor communal harmony, for which the JDS is wedded to",Mahendra Kumar said defending his cross over to JDS.

He tendered his apologies to Christians for his role inattacks on churches and described Muslims as patriots.

Mahendra Kumar, training his guns on the BJP governmentin the state, said corruption had reached unprecedentedheights.

Kumaraswamy dubbed the Congress as a "directionless party".

He said had chosen to admit Mahendra Kumar into the partyfold despite reservations expressed by Muslims and Christianleaders.

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