Mysuru, Mar 25: Seven rebel Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs officially joined the Congress on Sunday in the presence of All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Rahul Gandhi in Mysuru ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Elections. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was also present at the event. The rebel MLAs had supported the third candidate of the Congress in the elections to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka on Friday.

BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan (Chamarajpet), N Cheluvarayaswamy (Nagamangala), Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy R (Pulakeshinagar), HC Balakrishna (Magadi), Bhima Naik (Hagaribommanahalli), Ramesh Bandisidde Gowda (Srirangapatna), and Iqbal Ansari (Gangavati) joined the Congress.

These seven legislators were suspended by the JD(S) for defying the party’s whip and voting in favour of the Congress’s third candidate KC Ramamurthy during the Rajya Sabha elections 2016.

The votes cast by seven JDS rebel MLAs in the Rajya Sabha biennial election and also support of independents had helped the Congress win the third seat as a bonus, though it had the strength only to bag two seats for sure.

Despite the shortfall in its strength with 37 members, including seven rebels, as against the required 44 votes, JDS had also fielded its candidate, but boycotted the poll midway alleging electoral malpractice by the Congress in “collusion” with the returning officer.

(Inputs from PTI)