Four Congress legislators from the ore-rich district of Ballari are being closely watched by the party’s top brass as a precaution against the BJP’s alleged attempts to topple the JD(S)-Congress government.
The party is on alert as the legislators , Ballari (ST) constituency MLA, B Nagendra, Kampli MLA, JN Ganesh, Hosapete MLA, B S Anand Singh and Hagaribommanahalli MLA, Bhima Naik, have allegedly already been approached twice by the BJP since the formation of the coalition government in May 2018.
All four had campaigned hard for the November 2018 Ballari Lok Sabha by-poll, which V S Ugrappa of the Congress won. Although they had hoped to be rewarded by berths in the state cabinet, they were not accommodated and have been sulking since.
Their disinterest in campaigning is believed to have cost the Congress the Ballari seat this Lok Sabha poll, with Ugrappa losing to Devendrappa of the BJP by over 55,000 votes just six months after his victory in the bypoll.
Despite the party’s suspicions, these Congress legislators claim they are not about to switch loyalty to the BJP. While Kampli MLA, JN Ganesh who in January was involved in a drunken brawl with Hosapete Congress legislator, B S Anand Singh at a resort in Karnataka, denies rebelling against the party, he warns that if his suspension is not revoked he may have to think about his future.
“In this situation continues, I will decide my future in consultation with my seniors and workers in the party,” he said. Mr Anand Singh, who has almost gone into self-imposed isolation after the resort brawl, could resign as a legislator to pave way for a re-election in the constituency, according to sources.
Nagendra, believed to be close to rebel Congress MLA, Ramesh ,Jarakiholi, too rules out switching loyalty to the BJP and Mr Bhima Naik denies he is a dissident and there is no question of his quitting the party. “I don’t know why the media projects me as dissident . If it continues to say this, I will file a defamatory case against it,” he said.