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Four-time Karnataka BJP MLA Raju Kage to Join Congress, Says BJP Denied Him Ticket for Upcoming Bypoll

Over the weekend, Raju Kage was seen meeting with DK Sivakumar, Siddarmaiah and Dinesh Gundu Rao, who have assured the 4-time MLA a Congress ticket in the upcoming by-polls.

Bengaluru: Nominations for the December 5th by-polls have begun, opening a can of worms for the ruling BJP, which is likely to see dissenters coming to the fore. Topping that list is former Kagwad MLA Raju Kage who has decided to switch sides to the Congress, after he was denied a ticket by the BJP.

“I have been with the BJP for 15-20 years but they have not supported me, they have 100% decided not to give me a ticket, so I am left with no choice but to contest on a Congress ticket”, Kage said.

In the 2018 assembly elections, Kage was defeated by former Congress MLA Srimant Patil, who is among the 17 MLAs who dethroned the Congress-JDS alliance government in July.

Srimanth Patil was absent in the Vidhan Soudha on the day of the floor test citing health reasons, However, he was seen joining the other rebel MLAs in a private hotel in Mumbai soon after.

Over the weekend, Kage was seen meeting with Congress strongman DK Sivakumar. He also spoke with former chief minister Siddarmaiah and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao, who have assured the 4-time MLA a Congress ticket in the upcoming by-polls.

“All leaders have given me a green signal, I will join the party on November 12 and have the support of both BJP and Congress workers in my constituency. I will file my nominations soon and I will win” Kage said.

Chief minister BS Yediyurappa, although, seemed unperturbed. “Our people go to their side, their people come to our side. We will have to wait and see. I will speak to Kage and Poojary. We will win minimum 12 seats in the by-polls,” he said.

Other than Kage, BJP MP from Chikkaballapura BN Bachegowda’s son Sharath Bachegowda has also threatened the BJP, that he will contest as an independent from the Hoskote constituency if the party ticket is given to disqualified MLA MTB Nagraj.

He, however, is waiting for the Supreme Court’s verdict on the fate of the disqualified MLAs before he takes a call. The apex court will hear the case on November 13.

MTB Nagraj had defeated Sharath Bachegowda by a narrow margin of 2000 votes.

By-polls to 15 constituencies in Karnataka were necessitated after 17 MLAs were disqualified by the then assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, causing the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government.

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