Karnataka politics is all set to witness “a first-of-its-kind” political migration in the run-up to the Assembly elections.
Around 30 MLAs, including over half a dozen ministers in the Jagadish Shettar Cabinet, have decided to quit their parties in search of greener pastures.
While the ruling BJP appeared to be the biggest casualty of this migration as a majority of the MLAs who are ready to switch sides are from this party, the Congress and the KJP appeared to be the beneficiaries of this phenomenon.
Ministers Narasimha Naik (Raju Gouda), Anand Asnotikar, V Somanna, B N Bachchegowda, C P Yogeshwar, Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani, M P Renukacharya and Umesh Katti have reportedly decided to quit BJP soon after the Assembly elections are announced.
Interestingly, barring Nirani and Renukacharya, the rest joined the BJP either just before the 2008 elections or after the elections under “Operation Lotus”.
While Rajugouda, Asnotikar, Somanna, Bachchegowda and Yogeshwar are keen to join the Congress, Bommai, Nirani and Renukacharya are expected to join the KJP led by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa. There is no clarity which way Katti would go, though he is being vehemently persuaded by Yeddyurappa, who thinks that his entry would give a solid-base to his party in Belgaum district.
On its part, the Congress is not keen to accommodate and give tickets to whoever wants to join it.
As of now only Rajugouda’s name is said to have been cleared by the Congress high command.
In Somanna’s case, the Congress is keen to induct him provided he chooses to contest from a constituency other than the Govindarajnagar and Vijayanagar constituencies where he has the clout. Somanna is yet to take a call on this.
Apart from the ministers, BJP MLAs Shankaralingegowda, C C Patil, Lakshman Savadi, S V Ramachandra and Shrishailappa Bidarar are expected to quit BJP. While Gowda has already announced that he would join the JD(S), the rest are likely to join Yeddyurappa.
Sources in the Yeddyurappa camp, however, claim that the number of MLAs joining them would easily cross 30.
Even Independent MLAs are keen to contest Assembly elections on a party ticket. According to sources, five of the seven Independents have approached the Congress.