Bengaluru, Mar 10 (IANS): In a setback to the ruling BJP ahead of the Assembly elections in Karnataka, four-time MLC Puttanna, a leader from south Karnataka, quit the BJP and joined the Congress on Thursday.
With two ministers distancing themselves from party activities from the same region, BJP's woes increased with the development ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the state on March 12.
Puttanna was elected to the legislative council from the Bengaluru Teachers' constituency. While the BJP is yet to accept his resignation, Karnataka Congress in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, and state Congress chief D.K. Shivakumar welcomed Puttanna into the party at the Congress headquarters here.
After joining the Congress, Puttanna said that the situation in the BJP was such that he was unable to deliver.
"I have resigned from my MLC post and sent my resignation to the Speaker. Not a single demand of teachers has been fulfilled in the state. The teachers staged day and night protests for 142 days. Two of them committed suicide. Their 30 to 40 meetings with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai turned out to be futile. I have not seen such a corrupt scenario in my 20 years of political career. My conscience is pricking me for joining the BJP," he said.
Siddaramaiah said that Puttanna has resigned from his post despite four years of his term are pending.
"He has also resigned from the primary membership of the BJP. He is fed up with Hindutva provocations," Siddaramaiah said.
Surjewala said, "Suffocated and stifled by the 40 per cent Sarkar and its anti-youth, anti-teacher policies, Puttanna today resigned as MLC and from BJP membership. He has four years tenure as MLC remaining. The Congress commends his bold and courageous move. BJP's reverse count is on," he said.
The move came at a time when state ministers V. Somanna and M.C. Narayana Gowda have distanced themselves from the party activities.
If sources are to be believed, both of them are also ready to join the Congress.