BJP to piggyback on Sriramulu to bag max ST reserved seats

BJP to piggyback on Sriramulu to bag max ST reserved seats

The BJP's decision to field its prominent Nayaka (Valmiki) community leader B Sriramulu from Molakalmuru constituency in Chitradurga district is a well-thought-out strategy to win maximum number of ST reserved constituencies in the state.

Sriramulu, who is currently party MP from Bellary (ST Reserved), used to earlier represent the Bellary Rural Assembly constituency - which is also ST reserved. But this time, the party chose to shift him to the Molakalmuru Assembly constituency as it is strategically located.

Molakalmuru abuts about six ST reserved segments in Chitradurga and Ballari districts. The BJP is of the view that Sriramulu's contest from Molakalmuru will have an impact on seven other ST reserved constituencies in the two districts - Challakere, Jagaluru, Sandur, Siruguppa, Kudligi, Kampli and Bellary Rural. There are a total of 15 ST reserved seats in the state.

Sriramulu, who is a close aide of the Ballari Reddy brothers, is a popular leader in both the districts, especially among the Nayaka community. He had rebelled against the BJP in 2011 along with B S Yeddyurappa after the mining scam broke out. He subsequently quit the party and won in a byelection as an Independent candidate from Bellary Rural with a thumping majority.

In the 2013 Assembly polls, S Thippeswamy had won from the Molakalmuru seat from the BSR Congress led by Sriramulu. The BJP and the then KJP led by B S Yeddyurappa had together managed to get just about 5,000 votes.

Reddy's clout

Sources in the BJP said former minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy is part of the party's strategy in fielding Sriramulu from Molakalmuru. Reddy, who has been barred from entering Ballari due to the mining scam, is currently camping in Molakalmuru. He has taken a big bungalow in Molakalmuru town on rent and is said to be overseeing the party's campaign in both Chitradurga and Ballari districts.

Janardhana Reddy's brother G Somashekara Reddy is likely to contest from Bellary City.

This apart, through its first list of 72 candidates, the BJP has sent out a clear message that it has not let down the leaders who have joined its fold from other parties. Of the 72 names, 12 had migrated from other parties in the past few months.

Prominent among them are Malikayya Guttedar (Afzalpur), P Rajiv (Kudachi), A S Patil 'Nadahalli' (Muddebihal), Basanagouda Patil Yatnal (Bijapur City), Mallikarjun Khuba (Basavakalyan), Manappa Vajjal (Lingsugur), Dr Shivaraj Patil (Raichur) and H R Gaviyappa (Vijayanagar (Hosapete). The move is aimed at wooing fence sittters of other parties.

Except K G Bopaiah (Virajpet), all the sitting MLAs have got the ticket.

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