NEW DELHI: Mining baron and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader G Janardhan Reddy cannot go to Ballari to campaign for his brother Somasekhara Reddy, who is contesting in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls, said the Supreme Court.
An accused in the illegal mining case, Janardhana Reddy is out on bail and cannot enter Ballari as a condition for his release on bail in 2015. He had filed a petition in the top court, requesting permission to stay in Ballari for 10 days and cast vote in the state elections.
A bench of justices - A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan – dismissed the plea and stated that they did not find any merit in it. The bench reportedly said that there's no need for him to go to Ballari.
The BJP's fielding of the Reddy brother from Bellary City soon become a contentious factor, with the Opposition pointing at the party's penchant for “the corrupt and the tainted.”
Amid massive criticism, the party defended Janardhana Reddy's electioneering programme, claiming that the campaigning for his friend B Sriramulu and not for the party.
"Janardhan Reddy has not been included in the electioneering list of the BJP. He is campaigning not for the party, but for his friend Sriramulu," state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa said earlier.
Lok Sabha member Sriramulu has been fielded by BJP against the incumbent chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah in Badami.
The political fortune of three powerful Reddy brothers – Karunakara Reddy, Janardhana Reddy and Somashekhar Reddy – dwindled after the they were named in a mining scam.
Janaradhana Reddy was arrested under illegal mining charges two times – once in 2011 and then again in 2015. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in 2015.
Karnataka goes to the polls in a single phase on May 12, with the counting of votes scheduled for May 15.