Ballari: For Anand Singh & B Nagendra jumping ship not easy

Ballari: Amidst raging speculation that they could be the ‘chosen ones’ to bail out the new Yeddyurappa government which may soon have to face a trust vote, one of these two newly elected Congress MLAs, Mr B Nagendra from Ballari (ST) assembly constituency in Ballari appeared before the Congress top brass in Bengaluru, while the other, Mr Anand Singh who won from Hosapete, has disappeared from public view, and remains inaccessible to party leaders.

However, denying the speculative reports, Mr Singh reportedly wrote  a letter to the KPCC President asserting that he is with the party and the question of him quitting does not arise at all. However, the said letter is not yet in the public domain even as rumours are doing the rounds that he is facing the threat of an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate if he does not quit the Congress and hence has decided not join his fellow Congress legislators. Others say he was summoned by Union Home minister Rajnath Singh and is in Delhi.

But the ground reality is this – Mr Singh cannot afford to quit the Congress and embrace the BJP at this juncture. He has won the assembly poll for a third time in a row and in the previous two polls, he was a BJP candidate. In this poll, he switched over to the Congress just two months ahead of polling and struggled a lot to win on the Congress ticket.

"Voters were polarised in his constituency. Sangh Parivar workers worked hard to defeat him. But despite all odds, he won because of the traditional vote bank of the Congress. Hence, he may not go for a misadventure," confided a close aide of Mr Singh.

Mr Singh won this election by a slender 8,000 odd votes against his BJP rival while his winning margin in the last election was more than 40,000 votes. “Unlike in the previous two election, the dominant Valmiki community did not fully back him. This time he won because of the Muslim and Kuruba community,” said local Congress leaders.

Mr Singh who remained with the BJP when BJP strongman in the district Mr B. Sriramulu and Mr Gali Janardhan Reddy quit the BJP  to float their own party in 2011, had served as tourism minister in the Jagadish Shettar government.

He joined the Congress in the presence of AICC President Mr Rahul Gandhi on February 10 claiming that his ‘secular mindset’ did not allow him to go with communal forces.

Sources close to him say that he may not back the BJP that is controlled by his former mentors, Mr Sriramulu and Mr Reddy. Both Mr Singh and Nagendra had been to prison for 18 months along with Mr Janardhan Reddy on illegal mining charges framed by the CBI.

Mr Nagendra who shifted from Kudligi (ST) constituency to Ballari (ST) constituency this time, won by a narrow margin of 2000 odd votes. “Nagendra won because of the Muslim dominated Cowl Bazaar voters. If he quits the Congress, he will not win next time,” said a Congress leader.

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