Keep away from Reddy, Shah tells state leaders

Shah is said to be of the opinion that Janardhan Reddy should stop embarrassing the party further and confine himself behind the scenes. PTI Photo

BJP national president Amit Shah on Friday is said to have issued strict instructions to the state unit that mining baron G Janardhan Reddy should not campaign openly for the Assembly elections.

Shah, who landed in Bengaluru late on Thursday, was to reach Ballari and hold a road show and preside over a party organisational meeting. However, he cancelled his Ballari trip apparently to express his displeasure that Reddy had been allowed to identify with the BJP by state leaders.

The BJP top brass in New Delhi is also learnt to have taken a serious view of its Karnataka unit president B S Yeddyurappa sharing the dais and praising Reddy.

Congress has been mounting an attack on the BJP over its renewed ties with the controversial leader.

Sources said Shah has spoken to Yeddyurappa in this regard. The party’s central leadership is said to have advised the state leaders to desist from being seen in public with Reddy.

Reddy had to spend three years in jail following charges of corruption and illegal mining by the CBI. At a recent press conference in Mysuru, Shah had disowned Reddy stating that the BJP had nothing to do with him. While Reddy is barred from entering Ballari, he has been campaigning in Molakalmuru in Chitradurga district for the BJP candidate and his close aide B Sriramulu.

He even shared the dais with Yeddyurappa and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivaraj Singh Chouhan after Sriramulu filed his nomination papers.

Another reason being cited by Shah for staying away from the mine rich district is that Janardhan Reddy’s brother G Somashekar Reddy had been given a ticket to contest from Ballari City.

In 2012, Somashekar Reddy had been accused by Andhra Pradesh’s Anti-corruption bureau of being involved in the ‘cash for bail’ scam for trying to bribe a judge to get bail for Janardhan Reddy.

Though the party planned to hold Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rallies in Ballari and Chitradurga, it is still thinking whether to go ahead with it due to the latest controversy. The party does not want to put the Prime Minister in an embarrassing situation, a leader in New Delhi said.

Shah is said to be of the opinion that Janardhan Reddy should stop embarrassing the party further and confine himself behind the scenes.

Shah also reviewed the poll preparedness of the party during his stay in Bengaluru. Preparations for the series of rallies by Modi in the state starting from May 1 were also reviewed. On May 1, Modi will address rallies at Santemaranahalli in Mysuru district, Udupi and Chikkodi.

Later in the afternoon, Shah left for Koppal where he visited Gavi Math and participated in a public meeting.

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Keep away from Reddy, Shah tells state leaders

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