BJP leaders B.S. Yeddyurappa, D.V. Sadananda Gowda and R. Ashok inaugurate a meeting of the city unit of the party in Bengaluru on Saturday. (Photo: DC)
Ballari: Denying reports that he will contest in the next state assembly elections next year, former BJP minister and beleaguered mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy on Saturday said, "I will not contest any election, but will work hard to bring the BJP back to power, not only in Karnataka, but also in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh."
Mr Reddy, who is out on conditional bail in alleged illegal mining related cases, arrived in Ballari on Wednesday after getting permission from the Supreme Court to celebrate his 25 wedding anniversary in his hometown among friends and supporters. Mr Reddy performed a pooja at the temple of Kanaka Durgamma, the principal deity of the town, with his family members.
After visiting the temple, Mr Reddy told reporters, "The question of contesting elections in 2018, directly or indirectly, does not arise under any circumstances or for any reason. I am a loyal BJP worker and am ready to handle party affairs given an opportunity," he said.
He said that the BJP is gearing up for assembly elections in Karnataka under the leadership of state party president B.S. Yeddyurappa, and he will work hard to make Mr Yeddyurappa the chief minister after the 2018 elections.
He said, "I want to see Mr Narendra Modi as Prime Minister again after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. For that reason, if possible, I will campaign in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to bring the BJP to power in the two states, where I have my own political strength."
Sources said that Mr Reddy is likely to play a key role in bringing his alleged business ally and YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy into the NDA fold ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and to bring the BJP to power in the two Telugu states.
Though Mr Reddy ruled out contesting elections, sources said that his friends and followers, who are visiting him in Ballari, are pressurising him to get back into electoral politics.
In turn, he told them that if Bharatiya Janata Party’s top brass gives the green signal, he will consider it, the sources said.
"Mr 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 the 2018 polls, since the party lost power to Congress in 2013 over the mining scam where Reddy was kingpin," a senior BJP leader said.