Bellary bypoll a battle of prestige for BJP

Last Updated: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 18:56

Bangalore: The November 30 bypoll to Bellary (Rural) Assembly segment in Karnataka is truly prestigious to ruling BJP that is up against a formidable independent candidate B Sriramulu, the party`s "charismatic leader" in the region not so long ago.
Sriramulu spurned BJP`s offer to field him after
consulting G Janardhana Reddy, his close associate currently
lodged in Chanchalaguda jail in Hyderabad after being arrested
by the CBI in connection with illegal mining probe.

He is being backed by a section of BJP MLAs, including G
Somashekhara Reddy (Janardhana`s brother) in the mineral-rich
Bellary, as also his sister and Bellary Lok Sabha member J
Shantha and Raichur MP, Phakirappa, his cousin, but the party
has chosen not to act against them now, lest it would
precipitate matters.

Sriramulu quit his Assembly seat after the Lokayukta
mining report indicted him along with Janardhana Reddy and his
brother G Karunkara Reddy, among others, contending that his
pride has been hurt by it.

Following the report, the BJP did not give the trio
ministerial berths, and Sriramulu, a former Health Minister,
later gave vent to his anger against the BJP, slamming it for
not coming to the aid of Janardhana Reddy when he needed it
most.
Karunakara has kept a low-profile after being denied the
berth and is not seen campaigning for Sriramulu but it`s an
open secret that the once-powerful and resourceful Reddy
brothers, who wielded considerable influence and played a part
in BJP coming to power in the state, are backing him.

BJP has responded to the challenge thrown up by Sriramulu,
and it`s leaving no stone unturned to win the battle royale,
with several ministers already campaigning in the
constituency.

Former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, who earlier kept
everybody guessing as to whether he would campaign, would now
be canvassing against Sriramulu, who had raised a banner of
revolt against him along with the Reddy brothers two years
ago.

The BJP has fielded P Gadilingappa, and the Congress
Ramprasad in the three-way contest that has generated
considerable attention.

In a surprise move, JDS state unit President and former
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said he would campaign for
Sriramulu. JDS of former Prime Minister HD Devegowda does not
have a significant voter base in the segment.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 18:56

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