Srinivasa Prasad joins Congress

The former Union Minister Prasad hit the headlines in 2003 in Tehelka tapes case, reports Saroj Nagi.

india Updated: Dec 21, 2006 22:37 IST
Saroj Nagi

After inducting Karnataka's OBC leader Siddaramaiah into the fold, the Congress continued with its social engineering in the state by bringing back a prominent dalit face V Sreenivasa Prasad into the party. The move is part of the party's effort to gear up for possible mid-term polls in the state where the JD(S) and the BJP are in an uneasy alliance. Prasad was associated with the Congress for more than 22 years when he left on being denied a ticket in 1996.

The former Union Minister hit the headlines in 2003 when the Tehelka tapes showed Samata leader Jaya Jaitley allegedly telling an arms dealer to deposit the money with Prasad who was then in Bangalore.

The question of Prasad's link with the Tehelka controversy surfaced at the press conference where his home-coming was announced by AICC leaders BK Hari Prasad and Praveen Dawar. The six times Lok Sabha member recalled that even the news portal had said that he was not present in Bangalore at that time. "I was on tour to Mysore…I had filed a suit and the news portal later made it clear that they were mistaken," he said.

While the Congress claimed that Prasad is seen as clean in Karnataka, the JD (U) declined to react to their former colleague's latest move. "He had left our party to join the JD(S) a few years ago. We have no comment to offer on his rejoining the Congress," said spokesman Shambu Srivastava.

Besides Prasad, the Congress has also lined up Shashi Kumar, a filmactor and a tribal from the JD-S ranks, Prasanna Kumar, a bania from the BJP and Malli Madanna, an OBC from the JD(S). All three are former MPs who will join the Congress in the next couple of days.

Waiting in the wings are former MP and Vokaligga leader Tara Devi Siddharth whose departure from the Congress saw the party losing Chikmaglur and BJP's former Union Minister Dhananjay Kumar, a Jain leader who hails from Mangalore, the district from which Oscar Fernandes, Veerappa Moily and Janardhan Poojary come from.

Coming together for the first time, Prasad and Siddaramaiah between them are expected to boost the Congress' prospects in the 20 assembly seats in the Mysore region as they rally the dalit and OBC votes. Prasad had supported Siddaramaiah in the Chamundeswari byelection that the latter had won narrowly. The former deputy chief minister blamed the slender margin to the electoral malpractices indulged by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

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First Published: Dec 21, 2006 22:37 IST