‘Cong deal with Janardhana Reddy to topple govt’

Bellary: Karnataka Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda on Saturday charged the Congress with having struck a secret pact with mining baron G Janardhana Reddy, his associate and independent candidate B Sreeramulu to topple the BJP government in the state.

"There is a secret understanding between Sreeramulu,Reddy brothers and Congress to destabilise the BJP government", he told reporters here after addressing a party workers meet in the November 30 poll bound Bellary rural constituency.

He alleged that Congress has lured Reddy brothers with a promise that it would help the jailed Janardhana Reddy, arrested in connection with illegal mining probe by CBI, if they ousted the BJP government.

He feared Sreeramulu and Congress might engage in malpractices during polling day and said government was fully geared up to meet the situation.

Sreeramulu, speaking at an election rally at nearby Sindwal village criticised BJP senior leader LK Advani for supporting the suspensions and asked why BJP had not acted against those who boycotted Advani's Jan Chetana Yatra in parts of Karnataka.

His sister J Shanta echoed a similar view while lashing out at BJP for suspending her.

Earlier, BJP suspended four legislators of the Reddy camp -- three MLAs and MLC for defying the party and continuing to campaign for Sreeramulu, who is seeking re-election as an Independent in the bypoll. It had also suspended its Lok Sabha members, J Shantha (Bellary ST)and Sanna Fakirappa (Raichur).

Sreeramulu, trusted lieutenant of mining barons Janardhana and Karunakara Reddy,quit assembly membership after he was denied a ministerial berth following his indictment along with Reddy brothers in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

Meanwhile Union Corporate Affairs Minister M Veerappa Moily speaking at a separate press meet took a dig at former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa for asking voters to defeat Sreeramulu for forcing the bypoll.

"In that case all those who contested in bypolls forced by BJP by engineering defections under Operation Lotus should also be punished", he said.