Sriramulu sure of sailing through

The bypoll script has been a familiar one in the State in the last three years. The ruling BJP poaching MLAs from other parties, fielding them from constituencies vacated by them on the development plank and increasing its numbers in the Assembly.

But this time, the protagonist is not the party, but one who was once part of its flock. Sriramulu, the former health minister and independent candidate for the bypoll, is giving the party’s State leaders sleepless nights, as he may change the trend of the saffron party winning the bypolls almost on the trot.

As Sriramulu takes confident strides during campaigning, he throws a gauntlet at his former party.

“The BJP will do everything to retain the seat. Even if the entire government camps in the constituency, victory is mine,” declares Sriramulu. That his jailed mentor G Janardhana Reddy is not by his side pains him, but does not dampen his spirit. He is making sure that he enlists the support of all sections of the society on poll eve.

On Monday morning, he visited the Cowl Bazaar masjid to seek the maulvis’ blessings, before addressing a public meeting.

After his door-to-door campaigning in the area, the former minister visited Chellagurki village and performed pooja at the Yerritrata temple and canvassed for votes. 

“People of Bellary won’t let me down. All the ministers, including the chief minister, and BJP bigwigs canvassing for their candidate will not draw the people to their side.”

Trying to project himself as the wronged one, he said: “The BJP leaders, who could not tolerate the growth of myself and Janardhana Reddy, conspired against us. They could not stomach the fact that Sriramulu was growing up to be a State-level leader of the backward classes. They sidelined us.” He said that the people of Bellary were watching everything.

He told reporters: “I have not asked the MLAs, MPs and other people’s representatives of the BJP from Bellary to canvass for me. They are doing so out of their affection for me. The BJP has threatened action against those supporting me. I will come up trumps, even if they do not support me.”

On Karunakara Reddy’s absence during campaigning, he said the former minister was visiting temples, but “his blessings are always with me.”

MPs J Shantha, Sanna Fakirappa, MLA Mrutyunjaya Jinaga, ZP chief Aruna Thippareddy and others were with Sriramulu.

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