Bangalore: Five Independent legislators on Wednesday declared support to Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda for the election to the lone legislative council seat on Thursday, bringing cheer to the ruling BJP which feared cross-voting.

"Since Chief Minister (Sadananda Gowda) is contesting the poll, all six Independents have decided to vote for him," Independent MLA Shivaraj Thangadi told reporters here.

Gowda has to win the poll to continue in his post. The decision is significant in view of reports that Bellary strong man B Sreeramulu, who has claimed support of 22 MLAs, might try to pull down the state government.

The five independents - Goolihatti Shekhar, Sudhakar, Shivaraj Thangadi, Venkataramanappa and Narendra Swamy – met Gowda at his official residence this morning and held talks with him for nearly an hour, during which he reportedly sought their support in on Thursday's poll.

These five had played a crucial role in installing the first-ever BJP government in Karnataka before falling out with the saffron party.

Later in the evening, Sreeramulu supporters and BJP MLAs - B Nagendra, Somashekhar Reddy and T H Suresh Babu - also met
Gowda at his residence and held talks with him after he reportedly sought their support.

They had been suspended for supporting Sreeramulu in the Bellary Rural by-poll.

However, BJP recently revoked their suspension in a bid to ensure Gowda's victory in Council poll.

The poll was neccessitated by the resignation of N Shankarappa, whom the party asked to vacate to facilitate Gowda, who is not a member of either House, to get elected to the state legislature.

(Agencies)