A victory BJP could not celebrate

A victory BJP could not celebrate

Win no joy for Sriramulu as noose tightens around mining barons

It is an irony of sorts that the BJP, despite retaining its Bellary Lok Sabha seat with the victory of J Shantha, is not in a position to rejoice.

Shantha has just remained technically with the BJP since the arrest of mining baron Janardhana Reddy. Or to be precise, she is with her brother’s party BSR Congress.

The BJP leadership, which had allowed the Reddy brothers to take control of Bellary as well as the mining sector, on Saturday did not offer much comment when the result became evident, though it was not announced officially. The only solace for the BJP’s State leadership is that the party’s tally from the State in the Lok Sabha did not reduce from 18.

Sriramulu, though relieved that his sister will continue to be the MP till 2014, is not in a position to rejoice. His political mentor Janardhana Reddy is in the Central prison of Parappana Agrahara, not knowing whether he would come out on bail.

On September 5, he completed one year in jail. Somashekara Reddy, younger brother of Janardhana Reddy and Bellary City MLA is in jail in the cash-for-bail case. In the same case, the Reddys’ staunch supporter and Kampli BJP MLA Suresh Babu is behind the bars.
Sriramulu quit the BJP to become an independent MLA from Bellary rural reserved constituency and then floated the BSR Congress party. Though Shantha has identified herself with her brother’s party, the BJP has not taken any action, including issuing a show cause notice, because it is in no mood further lose its strength in the Lok Sabha.

Sriramulu has also appeared once before the Anti Corruption Bureau, Hyderabad. The CBI began its investigation over the Belekeri ore case on Saturday, the day the recounting of votes took place in Bellary. He is not sure what his position will be in the mining cases.

Court’s order

All that Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar had to say about the result was, “The counting was ordered by the court. We have to accept the verdict.” State BJP State president K S Eshwarappa remained incommunicado to this paper.

KPCC president G Parameshwara said they had no choice, but to accept the result. However, he argued that the ‘tampered’ EVMs were again considered for recounting.

“We were hoping that BJP’s misdeeds will finally come out in the open, but now we can’t do anything. The fact remains that the same EVMs that had been tampered with have been considered for counting this time as well. As a result the figures have tallied. We had anticipated this outcome, but as the court had ordered for recounting, the natural process had to be followed. We were also hoping that there was manipulation in the final tally last time. We have no choice, but to work hard and win the seat in the next election,” he said.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah said the recounting confirmed that Shantha had indeed defeated the Congress candidate in 2009.

Mandya MP N Chaluvarayaswamy (JD-S) said the case had strengthened the people’s confidence in the use of EVMs in polls and that there cannot be any “last minute manipulation.” Supporters of BSR Congress celebrated the endorsement of Shantha’s victory by bursting crackers at the party’s office in Bangalore.