Bengaluru, Nov 6: The Karnataka by-elections are done and it was advantage Congress-JD(S). The BJP managed to win just the Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat. However the biggest defeat for the BJP was in Bellary, which has been considered as a BJP strong hold owing to the clout of the Reddy brothers and their close aide, B Sriramulu.
The Supreme Court has rejected a plea filed by mining baron, Janardhan Reddy to visit Bellary for two days. Reddy had sought permission from the court to visit Bellary for two days so that he could campaign for his brother ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections.
The roads are still dusty, development clearly missing, Bellary at 40 degrees has turned out to be a battle ground between the BJP and the Congress. Sriramulu of the BJP is against former Chief Justice, N Y Hanumanthappa of the Congress.
There however is one small change that one gets to see in Bellary and that is the mining lobby is not as blatant as it used to be. Five years back, the mining industry was at its peak and when traveled on the roads of Bellary it gave the constant feeling that a dumper with iron ore could run over you. Thanks to the Supreme Court, the mining mania has been brought under control.
The battle for Bellary has always been an interesting one as it offers all the ingredients of a action packed thriller. The last few elections have seen money being thrown, SUV’s being burned, choppers flying all over etc. This time the scale of that extravagance is relatively down. However the money is still around and only yesterday the Election Commission of India seized Rs 9 crore in cash alleged for election purpose.
During elections you get to read stories on huge chunks of money being seized. The sums are obscene and there have been instances where Rs 9 to Rs 14 crore have been seized in cash. Ever wondered how such money is being pumped in and how the same is distributed without the name of the candidates coming out in the open?
Meet Chor Babulal, an arms dealer in his late 70s who runs one of the biggest rackets in the country when it comes to election money. He is an arms dealer from Rajasthan and has supplied weapons to almost every part of the country. According to the police, his main customers are local dons and honchos of politicians. He however is particularly active during the election year. Not only does have the responsibility of supplying arms in constituencies where violence becomes necessary to win votes, but he is the one who moves around the money for a lot of politicians in the country. Continue reading “Dirty election money- Meet the man who moves it”
After much debate and a lot of tweeting by one time God Mother, Sushma Swaraj, B Sriramulu will now fight on a BJP ticket from the Bellary parliamentary constituency. Bellary which is famous for its mining miseries will be a crucial constituency for the BJP.
The state BJP in particular felt that in order to secure Bellary and the neighbouring constituencies, it was extremely crucial to bring Sriramulu back to the party. Sriramulu had quit the BJP over the mining issue and floated the BSR Congress party which put up a good showing in the Bellary regions during the 2013 assembly elections. He clearly snatched away the BJP votes which hurt the party bad especially in a constituency which has been its strong hold since the past ten years.
The granting of tickets to Pawan Kumar Bansal, B Sriramulu among others has only gone on to show that winning an election scores over morality and clean governance. The names of around 188 candidates to contest the elections have been declared so far and statistics would show that 56 of them or 30 per cent have criminal cases against them. The BJP has 23 out 62 candidates with a criminal background while the Congress has 33 out of the 126 candidates declared so far.
Justice Santhosh Hegde, the former Lokayukta of Karnataka who had prepared a detailed report on the illegal mining scam says that values that the political parties speak of is only for public consumption. When it comes to elections every party is ready to compromise to get a majority, Justice Hegde tells rediff.com.
Despite severe opposition from one time mentor Sushma Swaraj, the BJP has decided to reinduct Sriramulu an aide of the Reddy brothers of Bellary into the party. Sriramulu will officially be welcomed back into the party tomorrow at 1 PM at a function where all senior leaders will be present.
The BJP wants to win as many seats as possible in Karnataka and they feel that the Bellary bastion will be with the BJP only if they have the blessings and support of the Reddy brothers who support Sriramulu.
Do you believe Sushma Swaraj or Sriramulu on the issue of an alliance or merger? Yesterday Sriramulu, an accused in the mining scam who had left the BJP to form the BSR Congress party said that his return to the BJP has been cleared by Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj. A while ago, Sushma Swaraj who had once called Sriramulu her son tweeted, “I am opposed to the BSR alliance or merger with BJP in Karnataka. I have conveyed to Shri Raj Nath Singhji in writing that BJP must not permit this,”
These conflicting statements have put the Karnataka state BJP in a spot of bother. They were desperate to rope in Sriramulu and even finalised the same three days back. Sriramulu too agreed to the same and made this announcement before his party workers and also the press in Bellary.
The statement by Sushma Swaraj cannot be taken lightly by the state BJP unit. Now it is being decided that they would not openly show an alliance and could enter into a post poll arrangement with Sriramulu. Political observers say that the BJP needs to be careful while picking its allies. Bringing back Yeddyurappa has not gone down too well with the urban voter, but the BJP decided to take this risk since he could make a difference in the Lingayat strong Northern Karnataka and also his home town of Shimoga.
Mining baron Anil Lad from the Congress won the Bellary city seat. Despite rebellion and after being refused a ticket at first, Lad managed to pull off a victory from the controversial Bellary city constituency.
The other Congress candidate who faced a massive rebellion is M H Ambareesh. He is now leading comfortably in Mandya.
C T Ravi of the BJP won from Chickmagalur constituency by 7000 votes. The other important winner was R Ashok, the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka.
A visit to Bellary and you would no longer call it the Republic of Bellary what it used to be known as early as three years back. The campaigns are mellow and the flamboyance is clearly missing. The reason is simple- “ the collapse of the Mining Lobby.”
It always was a battle between the members of the mining lobby in Bellary, but this time the BJP in particular has ensured that it does not field a candidate with this background. Although the same could not be said about the Congress which finally gave way to Anil Lad whose name figures in the illegal mining report by the Lokayukta of Karnataka.
The Reddy brothers- Janardhan, Somashekhar and Karunakar were the ones who controlled Bellary. They ensured that their party won by hook or crook in Bellary district. They also had a huge influence over the voters in the neighbouring places such as Gadag, Koppal, Raichur and also Haveri. This time around that show is not there for various reasons. Janardhan Reddy is in jail, Somashekhar Reddy has gone quiet after the judge bribing scandal and Karunakar Reddy has moved to Davangere to fight as a loyal BJP man.