Mining scam accused at helm of today's Rahul's poll rally

Mining scam accused at helm of today's Rahul's poll rally

When Congress president Rahul Gandhi shares the dais with former BJP MLA Anand Singh, who joined the Congress recently, at the launch of the party's poll campaign "Janashirvaada yatra" at Hosapete in Ballari district on Saturday, the ruling party would come a full circle as far as the illegal mining issue is concerned.

Just about five years ago, illegal iron ore mining in Ballari was a major poll plank for the Congress, which was then in the Opposition. The issue helped the party return to power after a gap of seven years. The party even took out a padayatra from Bengaluru to Ballari, protesting against illegal mining. Surprisingly, illegal mining appears to have become a non-issue for the ruling party in the 2018 polls.

The party recently inducted Anand Singh, who was once a close associate of Reddy brothers of Ballari and has been facing illegal mining charges.

Singh, with another mining scam accused and Ballari district incharge Minister Santosh Lad, is overseeing all arrangements for the launch of Rahul's yatra at Hosapet that is part of the Vijayanagara constituency that Singh used to represent as the BJP MLA till recently.

Not only Singh, the Congress led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is eager to embrace another mining scam accused, B Nagendra, the Independent MLA from Kudligi (ST Reserve) in Ballari. Like Singh, Nagendra, too, was once a close associate of the Reddy brothers and is facing charges of illegal mining. The Congress is also eyeing BJP MLA from Kampli in Ballari, T H Suresh Babu, a nephew of Ballari MP B Sriramulu.

Babu, who is also an accused in the mining scam, is said to be reluctant on joining the Congress. Incidentally, Singh, Nagendra and Babu had been jailed in illegal mining cases and are out on bail.

As per Siddaramaiah's own admission, Rahul himself gave the green signal for inducting these leaders. The party has only one criterion for the polls: Winning as many seats, irrespective of candidates' background. So much so that the party has chosen to ignore stiff resistance from the local leaders in this regard. The Congress lacks strong candidates to take on the BJP in these constituencies.

Four-day yatra

Rahul will have a packed schedule during his four-day yatra in Hyderabad-Karnataka region from Saturday.

Rahul will be touring Ballari, Koppal, Raichur and Kalaburagi districts, taking part in public rallies and interactions with various sections of people. Besides, he will be visiting famous temples and dhargas in the region.

BSY takes dig at Rahul

In a tit for tat, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa on Friday took to twitter to take a dig at Rahul Gandhi on the eve of his visit to the state.

"I heartily welcome #ElectionHindu@OfficeOfRG to Ballari. The #Congress President will fulfil our dream of #CongressMuktKarnataka," Yeddyurappa tweeted.

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