It was one of the most spoken about places in the past couple of years. It had even been termed as the Republic of Bellary however not in the positive sense. The Reddy brothers over there were a symbol of money and aggression and the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka had become completely subservient to their diktat. Fancy cars, choppers, crime and money in abundance was once the picture that one got to see of Bellary. However today all that has changed and it is quiet with the arrest of two of the Reddy brothers.
The arrest of Somashekhara Reddy by the Central Bureau of Investigation yesterday was probably the final straw for the once powerful Reddy brothers. He was picked up on charges of trying to buy bail for his brother Janardhan Reddy who was earlier arrested in connection with the illegal mining case.
With two Reddys behind bars today, the strength of this clan is down to literally nothing. While Janardhan Reddy and Somashekhar Reddy are both behind bars, the only one remaining is Karunakara Reddy. There is also Sriramulu one of the closest aides of the Reddy brothers who had come out of the BJP to float his new party.
There was a time when these men from Bellary could easily pull out 40 MLAs from the BJP and threaten to bring down the government. They had the monetary power to do so and there was also a never ending flow of cash which was generated through mining.
The Reddy brothers had pinned their hopes their hopes on Sriramulu who had contested and won the Bellary by-elections by a thumping majority. However he appears to be cornered now with the arrest of both the Reddy brothers. Moreover his name has figured in the cash for bail scam. The CBI is now looking to question him with regard to this case and this has made him go quiet a great deal. In addition to this there are a host of other cases and the most important one being the illegal mining case in which his name figures. Hence he too realises that too much aggression will only land him in more trouble.
The other brother, Karunakar Reddy is playing it extremely safe. Although it is no secret that he supports BJP rebel, Sriramulu, he has decided to play it safe and stay within the BJP. He does realise that he desperately needs to cling on to power and hence has very quietly remained in the Karnataka BJP which rules the state of Karnataka.
Adding to the worries of the Bellary folk is the ban on illegal mining. Their income is under a lot of scrutiny and the Supreme Court has taken a personal interest in this case. Hence every movement of money and any sort of illegal mining activity could land them in more trouble.
The people of Bellary say that the much required peace and calm has finally returned. There was a sort of lawlessness in this city, but with the Reddy brothers in the dock there is this much deserved calm in Bellary.
Justice Santhosh Hegde who had exposed the Reddy brothers in his mining report says that one could say that it is a fall of a republic. I had mentioned Bellary to be a politico geographic republic and these were the people who were the kingpins of this republic. Looking at how things are going now one could say that their kingdom is on the verge of a collapse.
However I must add that there was always illegal mining in Bellary even before these Reddys came into the picture. However when they appeared on the scene the international market picked up and this was known as the China boom. These brothers ofcourse took maximum advantage of the situation. They did make everything more aggressive and the chaos in Bellary thanks to them was like a river of no return.
Today when I look at what is happening to these people, I would say that the process of justice has just begun. The instrumentality of justice has commenced. However the real justice would be done when all these people are convicted in the mining scam.
Political experts say that the base that was set up by the Reddy brothers is in disarray at the moment. Their kingdom is falling and it is like a point of no return for them today.
It is a known fact that the Reddy brothers did play a huge role in helping the BJP come to power in the state. It is believed that their money power helped the BJP a great deal.
The question now is how does the fall of the Reddys in Bellary alter the chances of the BJP. For the past one and half decades, Bellary had become virtually a BJP bastion. Today that base is in disarray and cannot claim it to be their strong ground today. Ironically, no other party in Karnataka too has capitalised on this situation and made a pitch for Bellary. It is extremely difficult to point out what the results in Bellary during the next election would be.
Sources in the BJP point out that for the time being their main priority would be to complete their term. At this point in time having people like the Reddy brothers in full bloom would only have been an irritant. The BJP already has a lot of problems and the Reddy would have been another part of the problem.
Regarding bringing back Bellary, the BJP says that they will need to start the ground work right away. Our workers are on the field and should be able to produce results by the next elections. The BJP had got a drubbing at the hands of Sriramulu in the by elections. However they are hopeful that they could win the area back as Sriramulu is down today thanks to the various cases and also the fact that no other political party is doing any work in Bellary.