Hassan: Congress leader and former district in-charge minister of Hassan, A Manju has decided to quit the grand old party protesting against its decision to leave the Hassan Lok Sabha constituency to the JD(S) as per the seat-sharing agreement between the coalition partners in Karnataka.

He is likely to join the BJP to contest against the JD(S) candidate Prajwal Revanna, the grandson of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.

As the news of Manju deciding to quit the party broke, Congress leaders from Hassan met former Karnataka chief minister and leader of the coordination committee Siddaramaiah and discussed the issue.

A delegation visited Siddaramaiah at his residence in Bengaluru. They have told the state leadership that the Congress has been an arch rival of the JD(S) for years. Now, they are being forced to seek votes for the JD(S). They would have done so, if a senior leader like Deve Gowda would have contested. But none of the Congress members are ready to campaign for Prajwal, who is making his political debut.

Veteran leader Manju, who was expecting to contest on a Congress ticket, is the worst affected and has decided to take on Prajwal by joining the BJP.

As per the seat-sharing pact, the Congress will contest in 20 seats and the remaining eight will see JD(S) candidates in Karnataka.

Siddaramaiah is said to have told the party workers to respect the decision of the high command and sent them away asking them to campaign for Prajwal.

“If A Manju quits the party, he will cease to be a Congressman. He is a party man as long as he is in the Congress. The moment he leaves the party, he will also cease to be a Congress leader. Manju has not decided to join the BJP yet,” Siddaramaiah was quoted as saying by Suvarna News.

Opposition from ground level Congress members is increasing especially in eight constituencies where the grand old party will not be fielding its candidates as per the seat-sharing agreement with the JD(S).