Sriramulu decides to contest as Independent

Sriramulu arrived at the decision after a meeting with his close aide G Janardhana Reddy at Chanchalguda Jail in Hyderabad on Tuesday. He is expected to announce his decision after reaching Bellary, sources said.

Meanwhile, the BJP has asked the leaders of its Bellary district unit to come to Bangalore to finalise the party candidate. District unit president Guttiganur Virupakshi Gowda said the official candidate will be finalised after consultations with the senior leaders in
Bangalore on Wednesday.

According to reports from Bangalore, the BJP will not coax Sriramulu to be its official candidate, if the latter decides to move away from the party.

Sources said illegal mining  allegedly by Reddys has dented the image of BJP in Bellary and Sriramulu is the only link between the party and the Reddys.

In case he decides to sever ties with the party, there is no guarantee that all the seven BJP legislators from Bellary district may resign. Legislators Anand Singh and Somanlingappa are keen on continuing with the BJP, it is said.

However, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda announced in Delhi that Sriramulu would be the first choice for the BJP and an alternative would be found if he refuses to contest.

The State government has withdrawn  the security provided to the houses of G Janardhana Reddy and Sriramulu.

A total of 12 police personnel were deployed at the houses of two former ministers. Superintendent of Police Dr Chandragupta said the personal security provided to Sriramulu has been continued.

The supporters of Sriramulu have removed the portraits of BJP national leaders, the party emblem and flags in the Bellary district BJP office.

Photographs of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and senior leader Sushma Swaraj adorned the walls of the office building, said to be owned by the Reddys.

Gali is Gandhi: Sriramulu

Sriramulu, who is set to contest the byelection to the Bellary bypoll, visited his mentor Janardhana Reddy at Chanchalgud Jail in Hyderabad on Tuesday.

Speaking to mediapersons later, he said Gali will emerge “blemish-free” from his ordeal. “Gandhi, Lord Rama and Lord Krishna also went through bad times,” he said. “I spoke to him (Reddy) for only 15 minutes after he returned from the prison temple. Until then I was waiting in the Deputy Superintendent’s office,” he explained.

He said Reddy advised him to “seek the opinion of the people of my constituency, whether to fight as an independent or not. My political future is in the hands of the people of Karnataka, and not with any political party. Above all, I have the blessings of Janardhana Reddy,” said Sriramulu.

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