Ballari: Former BJP minister and beleaguered mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy who was in jail for three and half years for his alleged involvement in the iron ore mining scam, is likely to re-enter the political arena and contest the 2018 state assembly election on a BJP ticket.
Reddy who is out on conditional bail, arrived in Ballari on Wednesday having obtained permission from the Supreme Court to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary in his home-town amidst his friends and supporters.
Sources said that friends and followers visiting Reddy during his stay and are pressurising him to get back into politics. Reddy reportedly told them that if the BJP top leadership gives the green signal, he would consider the offer.
During the meeting with Reddy, BJP leaders are learnt to have invited him back into active politics, since he still wields influence in the state. They told him that the CBI case won't be any hurdle to his return as many businessmen with such cases are continuing in politics.
Sources close to the mining baron said Reddy is keen to contest the 2018 assembly elections but is yet to finalise his constituency. It may be recalled that his daughters opulent wedding had triggered speculation that Reddy was planning to make a comeback.
On May 10, Reddy confirmed his plans at Gadag stating he will contest on a BJP ticket in 2018. ''Difference of opinion with BJP state president B.S. Yeddyurappa are resolved now. We are like a family. In a family such small differences of opinion are common," he said.
On May 22, while expressing the desire to handle a responsible position in the BJP, Reddy said he was ready to accept any responsibility if the party gives it to him.
“Otherwise, I shall remain a common worker while strengthening the party for the next Assembly election," he told the media in Raichur.
Reddy also made it clear that he had never declared that he would not contest elections again. But, the party has had take a decision on this, he said.
Once again, at his Reddy community convention held at Yadgir, Janardhan Reddy asserted that his party-the BJP is like his mother adding that "I will never leave my party till my last breath".
Reddy was tourism minister in the Yeddyurappa government and had to resign after then Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde came out with a mining report indicting him.
Gadag, Raichur, KR Puram, which will he choose?
According to reliable sources, Gadag, Raichur, Chikkaballapur, KR Puram in Bengaluru and his home town-Ballari city are among the constituencies short-listed for Gali Janardhan Reddy in the 2018 assembly election. However, a source from the BJP said he had another strategy as well. His political career had been halted because of his arrest for alleged illegal business ventures.Hence he is now planning to enter politics by becoming an MLC. "He is going to fund the BJP to help it come to power in 2018 so that he can become a MLC," said a source. "It appears clear that Reddy wants to come back to active politics and handle party affairs, but it remains to be seen how the Central leadership will consider his re-entry into electoral politics ahead of 2018 polls, since the party lost power to Congress in 2013 over the mining scam in which Reddy was kingpin", said a BJP leader.