One of the most prominent names in the BJP’s second list of candidates for the Karnataka assembly elections was that of Somashekhar Reddy. This was a surprise pick as it appeared as though the BJP was distancing itself from the Reddy brothers of Ballari.
Bengaluru: The dust of the illegal mining in Karnataka’s Ballari is yet to settle, but the political heat has been upped in this crucial district that was once upon a time a BJP stronghold.
In Ballari, M stands for mining and surprisingly the word is silent today. No political party is raking up the issue and each one is hurling charges at each other.
As the state of Karnataka gears up to vote in the assembly elections, all eyes would be on Ballari or the erstwhile Bellary. The dust has not settled, although back in 2013, one witnessed a mellow campaign in this mining district which was hit by scams and taint.
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.
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.
Reddy and Yeddy were the reasons for our defeat is the general perception at the BJP’s Malleshwaram office in Bangalore. Even as the party begins to introspect its loss, many in the party are extremely disgruntled.
Today after seeing the results they are trying to put up a brave face, but almost 60 per cent of the BJP leadership acknowledges the fact that they were decimated due to the bad handling of both the Yeddyurappa and Reddy issue. Continue reading “Oh Reddy oh Yeddy- BJP office echoes”
Ramanath Rai of the Congress has beaten the BJP at the Buntwal constituency. He won the elections against the BJP by 10000 votes.
Another set back was for Karunakara Reddy of the BJP of the Reddy brothers fame. He lost his seat at Harapanahalli to the Congress candidate M P Ravindra.
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.
The Congress was quick to point out the flaws in the BJP where the illegal mining issue was concerned. For a long time in fact the Congress had stuck to its guns and decided not to field any mine tainted candidate from Bellary. However the party gave in and fielded two candidates whose names are part of the illegal mining report by the Lokayukta.
K C Kondaiah is a very senior leader of the Congress and is a popular face in Bellary. He in fact was credited with the victory of Sonia Gandhi when she beat Sushma Swaraj. Kondaiah says in this interview with rediff.com that despite us fighting against the mining lobby, the Congress has sadly fielded two candidates from the same lobby.