Bengaluru: Former IPS Officer and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Karnataka Vice-President (VP) Bhaskar Rao quit the party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the party office in Malleshwaram here this morning.
President of BJP State Unit Nalin Kumar Kateel inducted Bhaskar Rao into the partyfold by handing him over the party flag.
This has dealt a severe blow to Delhi Chief Minister Aravind Kejriwal-led party in Karnataka that was looking to gain a foothold in poll-bound State, by roping in prominent personalities like Bhaskar Rao along with several others like former MLC and actor Mukhyamantri Chandru, comedian Tennis Krishna to name a few.
Before joining the saffron party, Rao had held closed-door discussions with Kateel, another former IPS officer and Tamil Nadu State BJP President K. Annamalai (who was recently made co-in-charge of the party for polls in Karnataka), Revenue Minister R. Ashoka and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi.
Bhaskar Rao was ADGP-Railways when he took voluntary retirement from the service in April 2022, before joining AAP in the presence of Kejriwal in Delhi.
The 59-year-old Rao was made the Chairman of AAP Manifesto Committee in the recent months, with a plan to field him in Brahmins dominated Basavanagudi Assembly segment (that is currently represented by BJP’s Ravi Subramanya) in the forthcoming Assembly elections.
The fledgling party in the State was keen on cashing in on the image of Rao, who had also served as Commissioner of Bengaluru City Police from Aug.2019 to Aug.2020.
Rao is learnt to have expressed his displeasure over increasing cronyism in the party for calling the shots, lack of transparency and corruption in the party, that is evident with CBI arresting former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia recently and another former Minister Satyendar Jain already in jail.
Besides, Rao is also in awe of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and feels that he (Rao) can contribute more to the party that has a pan-India presence.