Bengaluru, Oct 16 (PTI): In a setback to JD(S), over 240 party leaders and workers from the bypoll-bound Rajarajeshwari Nagar Assembly constituency in the city on Friday joined the Congress.
Among those who joined the Congress in the presence of its state unit chief D K Shivakumar, his brother and Bengaluru Rural MP D K Suresh included JD(S) Rajarajeshwari Nagar unit president Bettaswamy Gowda, who was an aspirant to contest the November 3 bypoll.
Gowda was among the three aspirants shortlisted by the JD(S) for R R Nagar ticket, but ultimately finalised on Krishnamurthy V as the party's official candidate.
Announcing Krishnamurthy's name, JD(S) legislature party leader H D Kumaraswamy had recently said his name was finalised unanimously with consensus from Bettaswamy Gowda and JD(S) Bengaluru unit president R Prakash.
'Over 240 leaders and workers have come here to join us...today is a historic day for the R R Nagar constituency...We were trying to bring them on board for 10- 15 years. The time has come now,' Shivakumar said.
Speaking to reporters after welcoming them into the party fold, he said they have unconditionally joined the Congress with an intention to identify themselves in a national party.
Kumaraswamy on Thursday alleged that Congress, which lacks a worker base in Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency, was trying to lure his partymen ahead of the bypolls.
Reacting to this, Shivakumar had earlier today said inducting people from rival parties and attracting their votes was 'election time politics.' Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) along with Sira Assembly segment in Tumakuru would go for bypolls on November 3.
Bypolls for R R Nagar seat has been necessitated after it fell vacant following the disqualification of the then Congress MLA N Munirathna under the anti-defection law last year.
Congress has fielded a fresh face in the form of Kusuma H, widow of IAS officer DK Ravi. She is the daughter of former JD(S) leader Hanumantharayappa, and both of them had joined the Congress recently.
She is pitted against V Krishnamurthy of JD(S) and N Munirathna of the BJP.
Munirathna, after his disqualification last year, had jumped ship to BJP.
With R R Nagar having considerable presence of Vokkaligas, the community which Shivakumar and Kumaraswamy belong to, both leaders are eying on winning the seat to consolidate their position as the leader of the community.
Winning R R Nagar is even more crucial for Shivakumar as it comes under the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency represented by his brother D K Suresh. PTI KSU NVG NVG