Ballari: Mine barons turned politicians, the Reddy brothers of Ballari and close confidante and BJP Lok Sabha member from Ballari, Mr B. Sriramulu have been left ‘politically weak’ in this ore rich district with several key loyalists quitting the BJP to join the ruling Congress, only months ahead of the 2018 Assembly elections.
As the BJP state president B.S. Yeddyurappa led ‘Karnataka Parivartana Yatra’ is set to enter the district on Thursday, the ruling Congress dealt a severe blow to BJP, particularly Reddy brothers and Sriramulu combine by luring Kudligi MLA B. Nagendra to their side.
But it is not just Nagendra who could be crossing over. Sriramulu’s nephew and another close aide of Janardhan Reddy, Mr T.H. Suresh Babu, a two time MLA from Kampli too is said to have distanced himself from his mentor Reddy. Mr Babu who won on a BSR Congress party ticket in 2013 assembly elections was long identified with BJP.
Even as the BJP state president B.S. Yeddyurappa is scheduled to lead the 'Karnataka Parivartana Yatra' into the district on Thursday, the ruling Congress has served severe blow to the BJP, particularly the Reddy brothers by luring Kudligi MLA B Nagendra.
"Yeddyurappa is coming to Kudligi town on Thursday, but Nagendra is not accessible to any of the leaders, hence Sriramulu himself is supervising the arrangements', said a local BJP leader.
Mr Nagendra, a two-time MLA had won on the BJP ticket in 2008 and as an independent in 2013 and later joined BJP. He is a ST leader and a close aide of beleagured mine baron Gali Janardhan and Mr Sriramulu. He was behind bars along with Reddy for more than one and half years after the CBI chargesheeted him in the infamous illegal iron ore export scam.
Apart from Kudligi, Sriramulu is facing a tough time organising the Parivartan Yatra in Hagari Bommanahalli, Hadagali and Siruguppa where his loyalists and rival groups have erected separate pendals for the yatra.
It is not Nagendra along, Sriramulu's nephew, Mr T.H. Suresh Babu, a two time MLA from Kampli too is said to have distanced himself from his mentor Reddy for reasons better known to him. However, Mr Babu who won on the BSR Congress ticket in 2013 is now identified with BJP.
Political circles are abuzz with speculation that Sriramulu is under obligation to secure a BJP ticket for his mentor Gali Janardhan Reddy for the assembly elections. The party high command is reluctant owing to the latter's illegal mining track record. The Supreme Court had prohibited Reddy from staying in Ballari and he can visit his hometown only after securing permission from the apex court.