The BSR Congress founder B Sriramulu is keen on returning to the BJP. While the BJP too is willing to welcome him, it is not ready to fulfil the conditions set by him.
If sources in the BJP are to be believed, Sriramulu is ready to merge his party which has four MLAs, with the BJP. However, he is demanding his pound of flesh to make the BJP the principal opposition party in the Legislative Assembly. The BJP’s strength in the Assembly will increase to 44, four more than that of the JD(S) if the merger takes place.
One of the conditions set by the BSR Congress chief is that he wants to field candidates of his choice from at least two Lok Sabha seats. Besides, he wants to be the deputy leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.
However, these two conditions are not acceptable to the BJP. The core committee of the BJP on Thursday discussed Sriramulu’s willingness to return to the party. The BJP leaders have categorically said that it can field candidate of Sriramulu’s choice from only one Lok Sabha seat. It has also made it clear that he can’t be made the deputy leader of the Opposition as former deputy chief minister R Ashoka has set his eyes on the post.
Besides, the BJP has told Sriramulu that it would not entertain the tainted Reddy brothers from Bellary with whom he has been associated for a long.
Bellary, Raichur seats
Sources said that Sriramulu has sought the party ticket for his nominees from Bellary and Raichur Lok Sabha seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes to which he belongs.
He assumes that he still has a strong support base in the two constitueincies which are now represented by his sister J Shantha and uncle Sannapakirappa respectively. But, the BJP is ready to offer him only the Bellary seat. While he had insisted that his nominees should get the ticket from at least five constitueincies in north Karnataka, the BJP is not sure whether Sriramulu would be able to win more than one Lok Sabha seat.
BJP leaders said the plan to take back Sriramulu was ‘almost scripted’ when the his party won four Assembly seats, while the KJP of B S Yeddyurappa, despite his huge popularity and caste support, could bag just six seats. It is said that the ‘give and take’ arrangement between Sriramulu and the BJP would be finalised before Deepavali and Narendra Modi’s proposed rally in Bangalore.
However, Sriramulu, in an interview to a television channel in Bellary on Friday, claimed that he has no intention of returning to the BJP. Similarly, State BJP president Pralhad Joshi dismissed the media reports which speculated Sriramulu’s return to the BJP.
“No such proposal has come to my notice,” he maintained when Deccan Herald contacted him.