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September 2023

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Dissenting BJP MLAs Eye Dramatic ‘Ghar Wapsi’ to Congress

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After the Congress party’s impressive victory in the Legislative Assembly elections three months ago, several dissenting opposition BJP MLAs who had previously defected from Congress to BJP are reportedly considering returning to the Congress in Karnataka.

This move, termed ‘ghar wapsi’ (homecoming), is believed to involve around four to five BJP MLAs, potentially boosting Congress’s prospects in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Notably, these MLAs played pivotal roles in the downfall of the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in 2019.

Among the speculated returnees, former Minister and Yeshwanthpur MLA S.T. Somashekar could be the first to switch sides, expressing admiration for KPCC chief and his ‘political guru’ during an inspection.

It is anticipated that approximately four MLAs may leave BJP to join Congress closer to the parliamentary elections. Shivaram Hebbar, Byrati Basavaraj, and K. Gopalaiah, all BJP MLAs who were part of ‘Operation Kamala’ and previously served as Ministers, are also considering moving to Congress.

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Shivaram Hebbar said that he would not talk about switching the sides, but he would give his statement once he reach Bengaluru, speaking to reporters in Mundagod, the former BJP minister did not reveal much about his possible defection.

In the meantime, MLA Pradeep Ishwar who defeated former minister Dr K Sudhakar has admitted that the former minister had a meeting with the party leaders and said that he would not be included in the party.

While former Minister and BJP MLA Munirathna has ruled out switching parties, the potential re-entry of these MLAs and their candidacy could reshape the narrative for the Karnataka Lok Sabha polls.

In preparation for the elections, the Congress is aiming for victory in at least 20 constituencies, adopting a ‘maximalist approach’ to improve its electoral standing. D.K. Suresh, MP, highlighted that the party’s high command would decide on admitting leaders from other parties into the Congress, welcoming those willing to join.

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