BJP bets on Reddy brothers to deliver in Ballari region
Ballari (Karnataka): Having fallen on hard times following the humongous iron ore mining scam, the resourceful Reddy brothers of Ballari are back in the reckoning, with the BJP fielding two of them for the political potboiler of an Assembly poll slated next month.
The mining scam that rocked Karnataka not many years ago is no longer a reason for the BJP to jettison the influential Reddy brothers whom it has embraced once again.
The party has fielded G Somashekhara Reddy in Ballari city, and his elder brother and former Ballari Lok Sabha member G Karunakara Reddy in Harappanahalli in Davanagere district.
Though the most resourceful of them--G Janardhana Reddy-- has been barred from entering Ballari, in accordance with his bail conditions in the illegal mining case, he is camping near Molakalmuru in Chitradurga district overseeing the campaign of his siblings as also the BJP, which is making a determined effort to form its government in the key southern state for a second time.
The BJP has publicly distanced itself from Janardhana Reddy, with party chief Amit Shah recently saying it has nothing to do with him, but ground realities suggest otherwise.
The Congress party and a section of the BJP see Shah's statement as mere public posturing. Janardhana Reddy, they say, has been given the task of galvanising the Reddy community votes for the saffron party in the region.
The Reddy brothers, whose stock soared during the iron ore export boom, had played a key role in installing the BJP's first government in the south in 2008.
At the height of their influence, the Reddy troika -- two of whom were ministers and the third Somashekara Reddy the chairman of the Karnataka Milk Federation --were often accused of running the BJP government, before their clout waned.