BJP MP to campaign for Sreeramulu

"I am not scared of the action BJP takes against me. I will campaign for Sreeramulu", Shanta said in a statement here, a day after BJP state chief K S Eshwarappa warned anyone going against the party would face expulsion, including Sreeramulu.

BJP MLAs from Bellay disrict have also thrown their lot behind Sreeramulu, besides Raichur MP, Sanna Fakirappa, a development that has caused worries to BJP. On a brief visit to Bangalore, Sreeramulu told PTI that he was firm on seeking re-election from the constituency in the bypoll and spiked speculation of a rethink under pressure from the party central leadership.

"There is no going back on my decision to contest as an independent", he said. Sources close to Sreeramulu said BJP President Nitin Gadkari and other top leaders have been persuading him to return to the party-fold and contest as its candidate.

The top BJP leaders are worried about the political fallout his exit will have on its government, besides the party in Bellary, Raichur and Gadag districts. State unit BJP President K S Eswarappa and Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda have also been making efforts to mollify Sreeramulu. BJP is in a fix on initiating disciplinary action against its MLAs and MPs who have declared support to Sreeramulu.

Tomorrow is the last day for filing of nominations and the saffron party is yet to decide on its candidate.

Sreeramulu, a former minister and close aide of mining barons, Reddy brothers, quit the party after filing nomination as an independent candidate for the Bellary Rural bypoll yesterday.

He had resigned making known his displeasure over being sidelined and citing "humiliation" meted out to his business associate and jailed former minister G Janaradhana Reddy, whom he consulted before deciding to contest as an independent in the November 30 bypoll.

In another development, two party leaders-- R Ashok Kumar and K V Nagendra-- filed their nominations under directions from BJP's state unit BJP. Kumar and Nagendra told reporters that one of them will remain in the fray after the party takes a decision.

The state unit is still confabulating on finalising a candidate to take on Sreeramulu in the bypoll. Meanwhile, the Congress High Command has cleared the name of Ramprasad, who lost to Sreeramulu in the 2008 assembly polls and he will file the nomination tomorrow, party sources said.

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