Former Karnataka Chief Minister S Bangarappa, carrying the party-hopper tag, today joined JD(S) ahead of the local body elections to be held later this month.
Gowda described Bangarappa as a "crown" for his party while his son and state unit President H D Kumaraswamy saw it as an "inspiration" for the outfit.
At a press conference with Gowda, 78-year-old Bangarappa was all praise for Kumaraswamy, a former Chief Minister, saluting him for his "crusade" against the BJP government, uncovering alleged scams and tainted deals. "Hats off (to Kumaraswamy)", he said.
Bangarappa, a seven-time MLA and four-time MP, carries the party-hopper tag. In his more than four decades of political career, he had been in Congress, later floated Karnataka Congress Party, returned to Congress-fold followed by stints in BJP and Samajwadi Party before retracing steps to Congress which he has quit again now.
Asked if joining JD(S) meant full-stop to his party-hopping, Bangarappa shot back telling the reporter to pose the question to those in other parties who have done so, and then get back to him for his reaction.
Earlier, however, he defended changing parties, saying when the electorate can elect different parties to power, why can't elected representatives do so. One has to understand why one leaves the party, he said.
Bangarappa's influence now is seen to be limited in his home district of Shimoga, from where Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa also hails, and Uttara Kannada. JD(S) is positioning his entry as a "prize catch".
In the last Lok Sabha elections, he lost to B Y Raghavendra, son of Yeddyurappa, in Shimoga, while Yeddyurappa himself humbled Bangarappa in Shikaripura in the Assembly poll.
Bangarappa chose not to be critical of Congress, saying it's not proper to condemn a party while leaving it and projecting his new home as better. "We should say our party is also good".
He, however, said Congress now (in terms of the present leadership) is not what it used to be under Jawaharlal Nehru or Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi to some extent, and there is a difference which he didn't explain. "My conscious does not permit me to continue in Congress".
Bangarappa expressed his wish to see Kumaraswamy becoming Chief Minister again.
Asked how many of his followers and supporters are joining JD(S), he said the number is in lakhs.
Deve Gowda praised Bangarappa's "fighting spirit", adding both he and the latter would never retire from politics.
Bangarappa Joins JD(S)
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