BJP leader Baburao Chinchansur, believed to be one of those who played a key role in defeating AICC president M Mallikarjun Kharge, in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, appears set to join the Congress in Karnataka.
Mr Chinchansur, a prominent leader of the Koli-Kabbaliga community in the Kalyana Karnataka region, resigned from his post as Member of the Legislative Council on Monday.
He had represented Gurmitkal assembly constituency in Kalaburagi district from 2008 to 2018, and was a Minister in the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government earlier. However, he quit the Congress in 2018 after his defeat in the assembly election and joined the BJP.
As a BJP member, he is viewed as one of the main leaders who played a key role in defeating Mr Kharge in Gulbarga (Kalaburagi) Lok Sabha constituency. BJP candidate Umesh Jadhav, who too had resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP, won that election.
Congress sources said Mr Chinchansur is expected to join the party in the coming days.
Earlier this month, another BJP MLC Puttanna resigned from the Legislative Council and joined the Congress.
When reporters sought a reaction from Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, he said Mr Chinchansur had come from the Congress and was going back to the same party. He added that the BJP was strong in Gurmitkal and Mr Chinchansur quitting the party would not have any effect on the party's prospects there.
Assembly elections in Karnataka are due by May.
BJP stalwart and former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa refused to discuss the issue of Mr Chinchansur's switching of loyalties, as he had already quit.
"Just a few days ago, the husband and wife (Mr Chinchansur and his wife) fell at my feet and vowed that they will not go anywhere," Mr Yediyurappa said. "They might have succumbed to various pressures," he added, saying, "We are ready for anything."
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