Ballari: Even as the BJP is struggling to find a strong candidate to take on sitting Congress MP from Ballari, V S Ugrappa, Congress MLA, B Nagendra's brother, Venkatesh Prasad joined it on Tuesday reportedly with an eye on its ticket from the constituency.
Interestingly, BJP's Ballari strongman B Sriramulu and Ballari city BJP MLA, Somashekhar Reddy were not present to welcome Mr Prasad into the party. Ballari district BJP president, Channabasavanagouda, however, claimed there was no opposition to him joining it.
Mr Prasad said he had decided to jump ship because he believed in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "I am ready to contest the Lok Sabha poll if I am given the opportunity," he added.
Mr. Nagendra had lobbied hard for a Congress ticket for his brother during the November 2018 Ballari Lok Sabha bypoll and Mr. Prasad had even quit his government job in anticipation of ticket. But in a surprise move, the Congress fielded Mr. Ugrappa, who won the seat by a large margin and is set to contest again from the constituency.
Now that Mr Prasad has joined the BJP, sources close to Mr. Nagendra say he is in Delhi, lobbying hard with the BJP for a ticket for him from Ballari.
Meanwhile, the BJP is reportedly trying to take advantage of the apparent discontent among the Congress MLAs from Ballari, B Nagendra, Anand Singh and G N Ganesh. Both Mr Nagendra and Mr Anand Singh had left the BJP to join the Congress before the Assembly poll and the three MLAs had actively campaigned for Mr Ugrappa in the hope of getting ministerial berths in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.
But Mr Ganesh has become indifferent since the formation of the government and Mr Singh too is not seen in public due to ill health. Mr Nagendra has been making only an occasional appearance....