BJP says it's not averse to have Reddy back in its fold

BJP says it's not averse to have Reddy back in its fold

On a day when the Supreme Court granted bail to Gali Janardhana Reddy in the illegal mining case, the BJP State unit on Tuesday welcomed him to rejoin the party.

“We are happy Reddy has got bail. We wish he is cleared of all the charges. If he is willing to associate himself with the BJP, the party will take a call,” said Karnataka BJP president Pralhad Joshi.

Technically, Reddy, who has been behind bars for three years and four months, is still a BJP member. The party did not expel him even after he was arrested by the CBI in September 5, 2011.

Sources said the BJP may not directly invite him, but would accept him if he wished to become an active member again.

Reddy’s brothers Karunakara, Somashekara and his one-time aide B Sriramulu are with the BJP. Karunakara is not in touch with Janardhana Reddy. Sriramulu briefly left the BJP to float BSR Congress in 2012. The party won four seats in the 2013 Assembly elections.

However, a year later, during the Lok Sabha polls, Sriramulu decided to rejoin the BJP. This development is said to have had the consent of Janardhana Reddy. Sriramulu won from the Ballari Lok Sabha seat on a BJP ticket. The BSR Congress has three MLAs.

Several BJP leaders in Ballari, including Chandra Naik, B Somalingappa and Nemiraj Naik, have maintained a cordial relationship with Reddy. While there could be opposition from B S Yeddyurappa (whose government Reddy once tried to topple) on the BJP welcoming Reddy, there is also a feeling that the former minister could revive the party’s prospects, especially in Ballari.

The BJP won only one of the nine seats in Ballari district in the 2013 Assembly polls. “The people of Ballari feel there was a lot of development when Reddy was the district in-charge minister,” BJP Ballari district vice president Anantha Padmanabha said.

Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa said in Raichur on Tuesday that attempts should be made to ensure Janaradhana Reddy was acquitted of all the charges against him. The party president will decide on using the services of Reddy in State politics, he added.

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Jagadish Shettar, said at Suttur in Mysuru that the BJP central leadership would decide on taking Reddy back into the party fold.

Keep off politics?

It is said Reddy had recently confided in an acquaintance that he would keep off politics. Besides, the Ballari Reddy team is not sure whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would entertain his re-entry.

It is said Sriramulu would have been considered for a ministerial post at the Centre had he had the blessings of Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Swaraj used to be close to the Reddys before the mining scam became public knowledge. She had strongly opposed the re-entry of Sriramulu into the BJP. But the State unit overlooked her displeasure and fielded him from Ballari for the Lok Sabha poll.

After the fall of Reddy, the BJP has packed off from Ballari. The only solace for it was Sriramulu’s victory in the Lok Sabha poll. It is yet to find a leader who could revive the party in the district, where Reddy once ruled the roost.

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