Rebel Karnataka Congress MLA Umesh Jadhav joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday. Jadhav had submitted his resignation to Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Monday. He was among the four rebel MLAs of the Congress who the party had last month sought action against, under the anti-defection law.

The rebel lawmaker joined the saffron party in the presence of state BJP President BS Yeddyurappa, former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and others. His induction was held just before Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s rally in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi district. “I am happy and proud to join the BJP,” Jadhav said.

Jadhav asked the people of Kalaburagi to reelect Modi as prime minister.

Unidentified BJP officials told the news agency that the saffron party may pitch Jadhav against nine-time MLA and two-term Lok Sabha member Mallikarjun Kharge.

Meanwhile, the Congress has submitted a petition to the Assembly Speaker seeking the disqualification of Jadhav and the three other rebel party lawmakers – Ramesh Jarkiholi, B Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathali – under the anti-defection law. “The petition to disqualify Jadhav is still pending... without disposal of this petition his resignation cannot be accepted as per law, in my knowledge,” Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah told the agency on Tuesday.