In a blow to JD(S) headed by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, seven party rebel former MLAs on Sunday joined the ruling Congress in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi.
The rebel MLAs had resigned from Karnataka legislative assembly on Saturday, a day after they cross-voted in favour of the Congress candidates in the March 23 Rajya Sabha biennial election in the state.
Zameer Ahmed Khan, Chaluvaraya Swamy, Iqbal Ansari, Balakrishna, Ramesh Bandisiddegowda, Bheema Nayak and Akhanda Srinivas Murthy were welcomed into the party fold by Gandhi at a public rally here in the poll-bound Karnataka.
Along with them, former JDS MLCs M C Nanaiah, Sarovar Srinivas and B Ramakrishna also joined the Congress.
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.