Bengaluru: Despite claims by the office of state Bharatiya Janata Party president B.S. Yeddyurappa that he will campaign in Ballari in due course, he seems to be in a mood to “punish” district strongman, B. Sriramulu in the coming Lok Sabha bypoll. Reason? The latter is reportedly proving too ambitious for his own good with his eyes set on the Chief Minister’s chair.
Mr Sriramulu, who had until recently been described as deputy CM material, is suddenly being talked about as someone who would one day make a good Chief Minister by some in the BJP like MLA, V. Somanna. This seems to have irritated the state leadership, which is reportedly deliberately ignoring Ballari to focus on other constituencies like Jamakhandi and Mandya, where the BJP is trying hard to gain a foothold.
Losing Ballari may not make any impact on the BJP either in state or national politics but it could help the Yeddyurappa camp cut Mr Sriramulu to size, say party sources.
Consequently, barring two legislators, C.T. Ravi and N. Ravikumar, no bigwigs of the party have campaigned for Ms J. Shantha, sister of Mr Sriramulu, who has been fielded in the bypoll.
She has been largely left to fend for herself in her battle with Congress candidate, V.S. Ugrappa, who enjoys the strong backing of Congress legislators from the district
The Sriramulu camp, however, contends that if Mr Yeddyurappa is considered the poster boy of the Lingayats, he is the face of the Nayaka community in the Ballari-Chitradurga region and will ensure the victory of his sister, Shantha....