Ballari: With the Supreme Court on Monday refusing to relax the bail condition of former minister and beleagured mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy over his plea to allow him to stay in his hometown Ballari, an exodus of BJP leaders to the opposition Congress and JD(S) is expected in the ore rich district of Ballari ahead of the assembly elections.
"The Supreme Court's decision is certainly a big jolt to BJP in the district, particularly to his close confidante Ballari Lok Sabha member B Sriramulu who relies largely on Reddy", said a BJP leader. BJP state vice president Mr Sriramulu recently said his mentor Mr Reddy will be back in active politics shortly. "Janardhan Reddy told me that he is ready to come back to active politics if I agreed", adding that he is in consultation with the party high command to invite him to the BJP.
He exuded confidence that Janardhan Reddy's presence at his Ballari residence would make a lot of difference to the BJP's poll prospects in Hyderabad Karnataka region.
"Considering the waning clout of Janardhan Reddy over mining business in the district, Kudligi MLA Nagendra and Hosapete MLA Anand Singh, both mining industrialists and his close associates are set to jump ship and join the Congress shortly. Now, the Supreme Court's decision will see more BJP leaders quitting the party, since Reddy was a master strategist and a major source of funds for the party", said a BJP leader.
Indeed, Mr Reddy was preparing to return to active politics and said this on the occasion of Makara Sankranti at Anekal taluk in Bengaluru Rural, "If the party gives me another chance to contest, this time I will ensure the BJP comes to power."
On the same occasion, he launched an attack on the ruling Congress. "Everyone knows that Siddaramaiah went to the Chamundi Temple in Mysuru and was arrogant enough to wear shoes inside the temple. People will not forget his arrogance. The Congress had alleged that I was involved in a Rs 1 lakh crore scam but till now they could not extract a single rupee from me. If Siddaramaiah or the Congress comes to beg from me, I will donate alms to them with my left hand," Janardhan Reddy said.
The mining baron claimed there were 42 false cases filed against him and the UPA government could not bring him down.
Five years have gone by since the Congress broke into the BJP's bastion – Ballari and won five of the nine seats. For the Congress, retaining Ballari is a matter of prestige, especially since Siddaramaiah's Bengaluru to Ballari padayatra set the tone for the 2013 polls.
The prime accused in the illegal mining scam, Reddy had served three and a half years in prison after the CBI chargesheeted him in the scam.
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