Rift in Karnataka BJP? Congress says panel to decide rebels’ re-entry

However, BJP has denied any such probable defections and said Congress was living under an illusion

DK Shivakumar
Congress leader DK Shivakumar said many leaders who had quit the party now want to return | PTI File

With the growing animosity between the BS Yediyurappa camp and the one led by the RSS in Karnataka BJP, the Congress seems to be capitalising on this divide.

Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar on Friday (June 5) said a committee headed by senior party leader Allam Veerabhadrappa has been formed to screen the rebel leaders wanting to rejoin the grand old party.

“Many leaders who had quit our party want to return. I am not prepared to accept such leaders with a unilateral decision. The issue needs to be discussed with all leaders, even local leaders. A committee has been formed to look into this,” Shivakumar told reporters on Friday.

Related news: Saffron push in Karnataka a ploy to destabilise Yediyurappa: Analysts

However, he did not elaborate that at which level (whether ministers, MLAs or block-level workers), leaders were willing to jump the ship. “We do not need people who come to the party just for the sake of power. The person should believe in the party’s ideology, and accept the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,” Shivkumar said.

His statement comes at a time when the Congress has confirmed senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge as its candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections.

Dissent has been growing within the BJP over the past couple of weeks with some of Yediyurappa loyalists pressurising the chief minister for ministerial berths. And the chief minister, who had promised to accommodate some but couldn’t due to high command decisions, is now in a dilemma.

And the Congress now smells an opportunity with the growing anger against the BJP due to the migrant crisis and the lockdown that impacted several lives in the state.

“There should be no trouble for the party after they join us. Loyalty to the party is important. The desire for power alone cannot be the reason to accept them back. The names given by the committee will be finalised after consulting with other leaders,” said Shivakumar.

The Congress leader added that those willing to rejoin should work with district and taluk leaders, and gain their confidence as it should not lead to fights later at the local level. He also asked his party members to be careful while making any statement about the internal affairs of the other party.

Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Prakash Shesharaghavachar vehemently denied any such move (of probable defection) by the sitting MLAs of the party, and said that the Congress was living under an illusion. “The Congress is trying to save its own skin. They are trying to regroup their workers and no BJP member is jumping ship to cause trouble,” he said.

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