Bellary baron’s brother in BJP’s second list of candidates for Karnataka elections
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday announced its second list of 82 candidates for the May 12 assembly polls in the state, and notable among those named was G Somashekhara Reddy, the younger brother of mining baron G Janardhana Reddy.
Reddy, who is the BJP candidate from Bellary City, did not contest the 2013 assembly polls and after the arrest of Janardhana Reddy, the brothers’ close aide B Sriramulu launched the Badavara Shramikara Raithara (BSR) Congress Party before the previous elections.
While the first list had Sriramulu, he has been shifted out of Bellary district and is set to fight this election from the Molkalmuru constituency, which is reserved for those hailing from the Scheduled Tribes.
There were other notable inclusions of people who were part of the BJP government that ruled the state between 2008 and 2013 and who were embroiled in controversies that roiled that regime. Former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, who was arrested on land-grabbing charges, is set to go head-to-head with Congress veteran R Roshan Baig in the Shivajinagar constituency.
SN Krishnaiah Setty, another former minister who was arrested in an illegal land denotification case, is the BJP candidate from Malur in Kolar district.
BJP chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa’s loyalists Murugesh Nirani, Siddu Savadi, Mallikarjunappa and HS Niranjankumar, have all been given tickets.
Meanwhile, Kumar Bangarappa, son of former chief minister S Bangarappa, has been fielded from the Soraba constituency. Bangarappa joined the BJP last year from the Congress, and is set to contest against his younger brother Madhu Bangarappa of the Janata Dal (Secular), who defeated him in the 2013 polls.
BJP spokespersons and Muralidhar Rao, general secretary in-charge of the state, didn’t answer calls.
On March 31, addressing a press conference in Mysuru, party president Amit Shah distanced himself from Janardhana Reddy, saying he was not part of the BJP.
N Santosh Hegde, the former Lokayukta of the state, said it was an unfortunate development that people with questionable past had been given tickets, although he admitted that legally, there were no grounds to bar them from contesting the polls. Setty and Naidu, along with the Reddy brothers and Yeddyurappa had been indicted by the Lokayukta during his tenure.
“All of them have got judicial clearance, so there is no hurdle to them contesting. They were all given the benefit of the doubt, despite my reports indicting them,” Hegde said, adding that he would not comment on the judgments.