Sriramulu to rejoin BJP today

Sriramulu to rejoin BJP today

Former minister B Sriramulu will quit the BSR Congress, a party which he founded, and rejoin the BJP on Friday, so that he can contest from the Bellary Lok Sabha seat on a BJP ticket.

Sriramulu will also resign as MLA from the Bellary Rural seat.

He will join the BJP in the presence of the top brass of the State unit, including its president Pralhad Joshi and senior leaders B S Yeddyurappa, Jagadish Shettar, D V Sadananda Gowda and H N Ananth Kumar. Sriramulu will also be given primary membership of the BJP.

The move comes after the BJP central leadership on Thursday did not approve the merger of BSR Congress with the party. However, they offered the Bellary ticket to Sriramulu on the condition that he should quit the BSR Congress party and contest the elections as a BJP candidate. The decision was taken at the BJP parliamentary board which discussed the issue at length.  

Sushma not keen

Senior party leader Sushma Swaraj had publicly opposed the merger, stating that the move would allow tainted leaders like Janardhana Reddy, a close associate of Sriramulu, to get a foothold in the party. Reddy has been in jail for more than two years now, in the mining scam.

Others associated with the BSR Congress can also join the BJP, but only after their credentials are screened on a case by case basis. Only those who have good public image and have no cases against them will be allowed into the BJP, party sources said.
State party leaders, including Joshi and Shettar, impressed upon the central leadership that Sriramulu held considerable clout over the Valmiki community and his entry into the BJP would be electorally advantageous for the party, not only in Bellary, but also Gadag, Raichur, Koppal and Chitradurga.

GSB given nod

Later in the day, the central election committee cleared the names of sitting MP G S Basavaraj to contest from Tumkur. The party has already announced candidates for 20 seats and those for the remaining eight were announced on Thursday.

The renomination of Basavaraj is seen as a victory of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, who had backed his candidature despite stiff opposition from a majority of the State leaders.

The central election committee decided to stick to the recommendation of the State unit and cleared the name of columnist Pratap Simha from Mysore, former pollution control board chairman B Shivalingaiah from Mandya and former legislator Bethamangala Narayanaswamy from Kolar.

Former MP and minister C H Vijayashankar, who was keen to contest from his home turf of Mysore, was offered Hassan. He is learnt to have refused to contest. The party is yet to officially announce a candidate for the seat.

The party is still to decide whether it should field Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli or his son Suryakanth from Bidar.

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