Infamous for switching allegiances following the Karnataka Assembly Elections, Ranebennur MLA from KPJP, R Shankar’s loyalties may have swung yet again. Just hours after announcing that he had withdrawn his support to the coalition government, it appears that Shankar is still in talks with the ruling combine.
Sources in the Congress say that Shankar will hold talks with Congress leaders on Tuesday night. "He will come back. He only wants a plum post," the Congress source said. Shankar had earlier agreed to support the BJP after state party chief BS Yeddyurappa offered him a ministerial berth, said a source in the BJP.
The KPJP MLA earned the moniker ‘Pendulum’ Shankar in the aftermath of the Karnataka Assembly Elections. Although the results delivered a hung Assembly, Yeddyurappa was sworn in by as Karnataka Chief Minister by Governor Vajubhai Valla after the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 MLAs. However, the Congress and JD(S), which had quickly cobbled together an alliance post elections, challenged the Governor’s decision in the Supreme Court. The apex court ordered a floor test the following day as opposed to the Governor’s decision to give Yeddyurappa 15 days’ time to prove majority.
Even as the Supreme Court hearings were taking place, the BJP and the JD(S)-Congress had shipped off their MLAs to resorts to prevent horse trading. It was during this time that R Shankar kept switching camps and his loyalties.
At the time, both the BJP and Congress were trying hard to win over KPJP MLA R Shankar and the independent MLA H Nagesh. While Nagesh pledged his allegiance to the coalition partners, R Shankar went hopping from BJP to Congress to win a better deal.
Shankar had initially pledged support to the coalition. But a day after a photo-op with Congress troubleshooter DK Shivakumar, Shankar was seen having talks with BJP state President BS Yeddyurappa. DK Shivakumar, however, managed to bring Shankar back to the coalition side by offering him a plum ministerial post.
After the HD Kumaraswamy government was formed, Shankar was named the Minister for Environment and Forests in July last year. He was, however, dropped from the cabinet in December. Miffed at the Congress and JD(S), Shankar turned to the BJP once more.