Janata Dal-Secular rebels join Congress

March 8th, 2008 - 10:09 pm ICT by admin  

Bangalore, March 8 (IANS) Former Karnataka deputy chief minister and rebel Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader M.P. Prakash Saturday joined the Congress giving the party a much-needed prominent representative from the influential Lingayat community. Along with him, seven former JD-S legislators, three of whom were ministers, also joined the Congress.

Prakash told reporters at the state Congress office that a rally would be organised in Hospet in his home district of Bellary soon, when several more of his followers would join the Congress.

He broke away from the JD-S protesting against its president and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda going back on the promise to hand over power to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in October last year.

Deve Gowda’s son H.D. Kumaraswamy had become chief minister in February 2006 after forming a coalition with the BJP on the promise that he would make way for that party after 20 months in office.

Congress had been on the lookout for a prominent Lingayat face as sections of that community have switched loyalty to the BJP saying that the Congress was neglecting them.

Prakash does not have much of a mass base but his clean image may help stop further erosion of his community members’ support to the Congress at a time when the party is getting ready to face assembly poll, expected in May.

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