BJP to fight once-favourite Reddy brothers in Bellary

November 11th, 2011 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Nov 11 (IANS) After virtually dancing to mining barons Reddy brothers’ tune in the last three and a half years after coming to power in Karnataka, the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) will now take them on in their stronghold Bellary.

The BJP-versus-Reddy brothers battle is the Nov 30 by-poll to the Bellary Rural seat in the state assembly.

The seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribes, was held by their associate and former health minister B. Sriramulu. The by-poll follows his resignation from the assembly in August as he was not taken in the cabinet of Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda which succeeded the B.S. Yeddyurappa ministry Aug 4.

The Reddys have now propped him up as an independent candidate to fight the by-poll. Sriramulu quit BJP Wednesday and filed nomination papers in Bellary as an independent.

However, till late Thursday he bargained with the state BJP leadership to assure him a cabinet berth so that he returns to the party fold and contest as its nominee.

The BJP refused to give in and named a novice Gadi Lingappa, a businessman in Bellary, to take on Sriramulu.

Accompanied by Sadananda Gowda, state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa, Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar and several other ministers, Lingappa filed his papers Friday, the last day for nominations.

The Reddy brothers’ latest rebellion comes in spite of the most vocal of them, Gali Janardhana Reddy, being in Hyderabad’s Chanchalaguda jail in connection with an illegal mining case in Andhra Pradesh.

When Sriramulu quit the assembly in August, it was seen as a move by the Reddy brothers to float a new party as none of them nor any of their choices were taken in the cabinet of Sadananda Gowda.

However, the plan did not take off as Janardhana Reddy, who was tourism minister in the Yeddyurappa cabinet, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Sep 5.

The Congress has fielded B. Ramprasad, who lost to Sriramulu in the 2008 assembly polls.

The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) headed by former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda is not contesting. The party will decide Nov 15 on supporting Sriramulu if he gives an undertaking of not going back to BJP in case he wins the by-poll, according to senior JD-S leader and former minister Basavraj Horatti.

Votes will be counted Dec 4.

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