The expected entry of a BJP minister into the Congress ahead of the state polls has rankled party leaders in Mandya with many of them approaching seniors to prevent the admission of the turncoat who had in 2019 ditched the Janata Dal Secular to help B.S. Yediyurappa form a government.
While an official word is yet to be said, sericulture minister K.C. Narayana Gowda is expected to join the Congress later this month. But several local Congress leaders in Mandya district have already approached senior leaders against allowing Gowda to join the Congress and contest from KR Pet in the district.
Gowda has been ambivalent about his possible entry into the Congress.
“Discussions are going on but I haven’t taken a decision yet. My voters have elected me thrice so I need to ask them.”
He was among the three JDS MLAs who switched to the BJP along with 13 Congress MLAs to help Yediyurappa destabilise the JDS-Congress alliance headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy in 2019.
A fourteenth Congress MLA who had resigned then, Roshan Baig, was refused entry into the BJP as he was embroiled in a scam. Agriculture minister B.C. Patil, one of the Congress turncoats who helped Yediyurappa form the government in 2019, admitted there are talks about Gowda joining the Congress.
“I am not going (to the Congress). But there are talks that Narayana Gowda is going,” he told reporters on Monday, alluding to rumours that several turncoats who joined the BJPare now willing to return to the Congress.
The possible entry of Gowda into the Congress has already triggered protests inMandya where workers tore party banners and posters on Monday.
Several local leaders, including N. Chaluvarayaswamy, P.M. Narendraswamy, Vijayarame Gowda and former MLA Chandrashekar, met P.C. Siddaramaiah to convey their disagreement with the move to induct Gowda.
Party sources said they urged Siddaramaiah and state party president D.K. Shivakumar not to welcome a party-hopper like Gowda who was with the Bahujan Samaj Party until 2013 when he joined JDS.
The Congress received a shot in the arm, with two BJPleaders joining the party last month. H.D. Thammiah and Kiran Kumar, both members of the influential Lingayat community, were close confidants of BJP national general secretary C.T. Ravi.
Their exit from the ruling party fuelled speculation that not everything was well with the BJP in Karnataka.