Suspended JD(S) MLAs to join Congress, await Rahul Gandhi's nod
Six MLAs of the JD(S) are all set to join the Congress ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections. The gang of rebel JD(S) leaders led by B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan are in New Delhi to meet Rahul and Sonia Gandhi to discuss the same. Party chief and former Prime Minister H D Devegowda had suspended all seven MLAs for anti-party activity last year.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday left to New Delhi with Zameer Ahmed Khan, H C Balakrishna, Ramesh Bandisiddegowda, N Cheluvarayaswamy, Bhima Naik and Akhanda Srinivasamurthy, all leaders of the JD(S). Incidentally, the MLAs have been flown down at a time when Siddaramaiah is expected to discuss cabinet expansion with the party high command. The move had given rise to speculation that one of the rebel JD(S) MLAs will be given a cabinet berth but with many aspirants within the Congress vying for the posts, it has come as a challenge
The MLAs are expected to join the Congress party officially in the month of December. The JD(S) has so far refused to comment on the development and has maintained that the MLAs were suspended for anti-party activities. All the MLAs were removed from the party for voting for Congress candidate in the 2016 Rajya Sabha elections. The cross-voting was the result of a standoff between JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy and Zameer Ahmed.
All strong leaders from their communities, their shift is sure to affect the JD(S) negatively while adding strength to the Congress. The rebel MLAs have accused the JD(S) of siding with the BJP and hence, leaving them no option but to join the Congress.
JD(S), according to various pre-poll surveys conducted, may have turned out to be the kingmaker in the 2018 elections. With its leaders drifting towards other parties, JD(S) is now in the process of planning its poll strategy. JD(S) supremo H D Devegowda is scheduled to begin his statewide tour shortly as part of the party's poll campaign.