An assembly bypoll in Bellary on November 30 is turning out to be a do-or-die battle between the infamous Reddys and their now estranged patron, the BJP, which is again looking up to former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa (BSY) to bail out the party.
Former Karnataka minister B Sriramulu, a close aide of former minister G Janardhana Reddy, is seeking to retain the seat that he vacated apparently upset over denial of a cabinet berth to him in Karnataka chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda’s ministry.
Sriramulu is contesting as an independent after quitting the BJP on the orders of mining baron Janardhana Reddy, who is in Hyderabad jail since September 8.
As a defeat for the BJP could set the alarm bells ringing for the Gowda ministry, central and state BJP leaders have succeeded in persuading BSY to campaign for the party's nominee, P Gadhilingappa.
BSY was initially reluctant to campaign for the party as he was reportedly slighted by senior BJP leader LK Advani's remark against him during the course of his anti-corruption Jan Chetna yatra.
But after a meeting with central and local BJP leaders in Delhi on Saturday, BSY has reportedly agreed to campaign in Bellary from November 22.
Sriramuli has the backing of two BJP MPs and six BJP MLAs from Bellary and neighbouring districts, who have dared the party to take action against them.
Knowing that expelling them would reduce the government’s numbers, a petrified BJP is counting on BSY to take on the Reddys in their borough.
On Wednesday, BSY got an anticipatory bail from the high court in two corruption cases. He is already out of jail on bail in two other corruption cases and has sought anticipatory bail in a fifth case. In all, five cases of corruption and illegal land deals were filed by two Bangalore advocates in January this year.