BJP plans to reclaim Bellary from Reddy brothers

November 16th, 2011 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, Nov 16 (IANS) Karnataka’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will Thursday decide its strategy to defeat the rebellious Reddy brothers in their stronghold of Bellary in the Nov 30 assembly bypoll in the area.

The dominance of the Reddy brothers, or rather the BJP’s dependence on them in the iron ore rich district, was such that the party was left with no office premises after the mining barons propped up their associate B. Sriramulu to fight the bypoll as an independent candidate.

Sriramulu quit the BJP Nov 9 and filed the nomination as an independent for the Bellary Rural seat reserved for Scheduled Tribes, a day after meeting his mentor G. Janardhana Reddy in Hyderabad’s Chanchalaguda jail.

The bypoll follows Sriramulu resigning from the assembly in September claiming his “prestige” had been damaged as he was indicted in July by the then Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde in the illegal mining scam.

Though Janardhana Reddy and his elder brother G. Karunakara were also indicted by Hegde, they have not quit the legislature. Janardhana is a member of the legislative council while Karunakara is in the assembly.

The real reason for Sriramulu quitting the assembly was said to be his as well as Reddy brothers’ unhappiness at not being taken in the D.V. Sadananda Gowda cabinet that succeeded the B.S. Yeddyurappa ministry Aug 4.

Yeddyurappa ministry went out July 31 after Hegde recommended his trial for corruption in the illegal mining scandal.

Janardhana, Karunakara and Sriramulu were ministers in the Yeddyurappa cabinet. Since Hegde had indicted all three none of them was taken in the Gowda ministry.

Janardhana Reddy is in Hyderabad jail since Sep 5 in connection with illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh.

Within minutes of Sriramulu announcing Nov 9 that he was resigning from the BJP primary membership, the party flags were removed from its office premises and flags with his photo were hoisted.

BJP tried to win back Sriramulu but found it difficult to accede to his conditions, among which was said to be an assurance that he will be made a minister again.

Deciding to reclaim Bellary from the Reddy brothers and to prove that the organisation is above an individual, the party has fielded local businessman P. Gadilingappa, who will be contesting for the assembly for the first time.

When Gadilingappa filed his nomination papers Nov 10, accompanied by Sadananda Gowda and state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa, the party had no office of its own in Bellary.

The office was inaugurated Wednesday by Eshwarappa who said the party leaders will meet in Bangalore Thursday to decide the strategy to ensure the victory of its candidate.

The meeting is expected to urge Yeddyurappa to campaign in Bellary as he has been sending out contradictory signals on whether he will do so.

His supporters want the party to announce that he will lead the campaign. But Gowda, though Yeddyurappa’s choice to succeed him as chief minister, and Eshwarappa have been talking of fighting the bypoll under “collective leadership”.

Yeddyurappa, out of jail on bail in two corruption cases after spending 21 days behind bars in Bangalore’s central prison, is keeping the state unit on tenterhooks.

Several times he has said he will not campaign in Bellary for “special reasons” without elaborating them. Two days back he said if his “favourite god” directs him, he will campaign. He did not name of the ‘favourite god’.

There are eight candidates left in the fray though the battle will be among the BJP’s Gadilingappa, Sriramulu and Congress candidate B. Ramprasad who had lost in the May 2008 assembly polls. The remaining are all independents.

Counting of votes is on Dec 4.

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