Karnataka: Many MLAs may switch sides before 2023 polls | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: While assembly elections are one and a half years away, signs of an impending migration of MLAs from one political camp to another have started to emerge. All three main parties in Karnataka are reportedly identifying legislators who are unhappy and considering a switch.
A senior Congress functionary explained the criteria: the party prefers to rope in a rival MLA from a constituency where it is weak. The move is finalised only if the MLA has a strong chance of getting re-elected from the same constituency.
Former chief minister BS Yediyurappa warned about the trend of party-hopping at BJP’s state executive meeting in Davanagere last week, saying KPCC president DK Shivakumar was in touch with several BJP MLAs. “It is a common phenomenon ahead of assembly and Lok Sabha elections. The party which appears to be winning will have more applications,” said a BJP functionary.
Janata Dal (Secular) has repeatedly seen some of its MLAs leave ahead of assembly polls. Currently, at least four sitting and two former party MLAs are reportedly planning to move out. Though they have not divulged anything yet, there are strong indications that they will change teams.
The name of senior JD(S) legislator from Chamundeshwari GT Deve Gowda is on the top of the list. His relation with former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy soured after the latter refused to give him a portfolio of his choice during the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.
Gowda has already held several rounds of meetings with senior Congress functionaries, including opposition leader Siddaramaiah, whom he had defeated with a huge margin in Chamundeshwari in 2018. Gowda has reportedly agreed to join Congress provided he and his son are promised poll tickets.
Similarly, Gubbi MLA SR Srinivas and Kolar MLA K Srinivas Gowda are also said to be knocking on the doors of Congress. The talk in political circles is that Congress is eyeing another two MLAs from the old Mysuru region. JD(S) has already lost former minister MC Managuli’s son, Ashok, to Congress. It had earlier planned to field him in Sindgi to take advantage of the sympathy factor associated with Managuli’s death. Former MLA from Navalgund NH Konareddy is also reportedly cosying up to Congress.
“Some MLAs have distanced themselves from the party. Efforts are also being made to poach our candidates who were runners-up in the 2018 elections. I am not worried. We will find new candidates in such constituencies,” HD Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) legislature party chief, said after a party event in Bidadi.
Several former BJP MLAs, especially from constituencies represented by 16 former Congress-JD(S) rebels who joined BJP, are reportedly in touch with Congress. There is also speculation about BJP MLA from Soraba Kumara Bangarappa.

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Sagar Biswas

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