Karnataka elections: 28 JD(S) candidates are Congress and BJP rebels

Significant among them are former BJP MLC Ayanur Manjunath, former BJP MLA MP Kumaraswamy, and former Congress MLC Raghu Achar.
HD Kumaraswamy
HD Kumaraswamy
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The Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka appears to have quietly gained a foothold in many constituencies in the state where it had a minimal presence, by convincing rebel leaders in the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to join JD(S) ahead of the state assembly elections. According to insiders, the party has managed to convince as many as 28 rebel leaders to join it this month.

Significant among them are former BJP MLC Ayanur Manjunath, who will contest from Shivamogga; former BJP MLA MP Kumaraswamy, who will contest from Mudigere; and former Congress MLC Raghu Achar, who will contest from Chitradurga. While Kumaraswamy had opposed the BJP over lack of funds for disaster relief in August 2021, Ayanur Manjunath had opposed the party’s labour reforms introduced in March this year. Most of the rebel leaders who have joined the JD(S) are from outside the Old Mysore region, considered to be the bastion of the regional party.

The JD(S), which hopes to be kingmaker in the upcoming elections, has also managed to convince Anil Lad to join the party and contest from Ballari. Anil Lad was previously arrested alongside several BJP leaders including the infamous Reddy brothers — G Somashekara Reddy, Janardhana Reddy and Karunakara Reddy — in connection with the illegal mining scam in Ballari.

Former MLA YSV Datta too has rejoined the JD(S) party after a brief stint with the Congress, and will contest from the Kadur constituency. In addition, the party has fielded NR Santosh, a relative of Yediyurappa, who was close to BY Vijayendra before they reportedly had a falling out. Santosh reportedly played a crucial role in convincing 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs to resign from the Karnataka assembly and bring down the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in 2019.

AB Malakareddy in Yadgir, Suraj Soni Naik in Kumta, Mohiuddin Bawa in Mangaluru (North), and A Manju in Arkalgud are among the other leaders roped in by the party ahead of the elections on May 10. 

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