New Delhi: Leader of Opposition in Lok
Sabha, Sushma Swaraj has refuted charges that she is a
protector of the mining barons Reddy brothers and played a
role in their induction into the Karnataka cabinet.
"There cannot be a bigger lie. Let me tell you the
truth, I have no hand in the political making of the Bellary
brothers. I had nothing to do in making them ministers or
building up their stature as political leaders," Swaraj said
in an interview to a weekly magazine Outlook.
The Bellary brothers, Janardhan, Karunakar and
Somashekhar Reddy, are said to be close to Swaraj and
reportedly enjoy her patronage. The proximity between Swaraj
and Reddy brothers- who say they respect her as a family
elder- has been since the former contested against Congress
President Sonia Gandhi from Bellary in 1999.
However, Swaraj denied that she was responsible for
induction of the Bellary brothers, who are known detractors of
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, into the state cabinet.
"When Bellary brothers were made ministers, (Arun)
Jaitley was in-charge and Yeddyurappa was Chief Minister.
Venkaiah (Naidu) and Ananth Kumar were there as senior
leaders. Whatever discussions happened, happened between these
people. I had nothing to do with it," Swaraj said.
Janardhan and Karunakar Reddy are cabinet ministers in
Karnataka. Somashekhar is in-charge of a government body with
"My total interaction with the Reddy brothers is limited
to one day in the year, when I go to Bellary for the puja of
Varamahalakshmi. For the remaining 364 days, we have no
conversation or communication," she said.
Swaraj, in fact, maintained that she was opposed to the Reddy brothers becoming cabinet ministers.
"I was opposed to their appointment as ministers,
opposed to three members of a family being made ministers. But
they (Jaitley, Naidu and Kumar) had some political compulsions
which made them appoint the brothers," she said.
However, Swaraj accepted that when there was a rebellion
in Karnataka BJP in 2009 and the government was on the verge
of falling, she did talk to the Reddy brothers to placate
them. But she maintained she did so after then party president
Rajnath Singh and in-charge Jaitley asked her to do so.