Srinivas Prasad, former Revenue Minister in the Congress-led Karnataka government joined Bharatiya Janata Party at an event held in Bengaluru on Monday.
On the occasion, BJP State President BS Yeddyurappa said that he "wholeheartedly" welcomes both Srinivas Prasad and scores of his supporters to the party.
Srinivas Prasad's return to the BJP comes months after the 67-year-old leader lost his ministership during Chief Minister Siddharamaiah’s cabinet reshuffle in June 2016.
Irked by this, the senior Congress and Dalit leader quit the party in October, raising allegations against the CM and the party, going to the extent of claiming that the CM was hungry for power.
When Srinivas Prasad made an official announcement that he would now return to BJP – a party that he had earlier quit in 2005 – he had justified his choice and said that "the BJP was no longer a Hindutva party”.
"What would have once been their sole agenda, Hindutva, is no more the case. Their outlook has changed. The overwhelming majority it received across the nation by winning 283 seats in the Parliament is proof of this larger acceptance of the party," Prasad was quoted as saying by TOI.
Asserting that these were his last years in politics, Srinivas Prasad said that he has "never compromised" and that "politics has always been a social commitment" for him. Assuring that he was not power hungry, the leader said that he only desires an honourable retirement from politics that was denied to him by the Congress party.
He has in the past also, openly said that he was seeking the respect which he never got from the Congress party or its leaders.
Prasad was a Union minister for Civil Supplies in the Vajpayee-led NDA government from 1999-2004 and rejoined the Congress in 2005. He resigned from the Janata Dal (United) when the party had split in the state in 1999.
Meanwhile, KPCC President and state Home Minister G Parameshwara told journalists on Sunday that Srinivas Prasad’s exit will have little bearing on the Congress party.
Speaking to supporters, Yeddyurappa said that a victory for Srinivas Prasad in the upcoming Nanjangud by-poll elections will be instrumental in determining the fate of the party in the assembly elections due to be held in 2018.
The leader, being a popular face in Nanjangud constituency in Mysuru, is expected to contest on a BJP ticket. The Congress will reportedly finalize their candidate soon.