BJP unites to defeat Reddy brothers in Bellary

BJP unites to defeat Reddy brothers in Bellary

Senior party leaders, ministers and parliament members met here and succeeded in persuading former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to campaign for the party candidate P. Gadilingappa against Reddy brothers' nominee, former health minister B. Sriramlu.

Yeddyuappa, now out of jail on bail, had been sending conflicting signals on taking part in the poll campaign as he wanted to be acknowledged as the leader under whom the battle will be fought. However after Thursday's meeting which he and his loyalist ministers and legislators also attended, the 68-year-old BJP leader told reporters that he will campaign to defeat Sriramulu.

Sriramulu quit BJP Nov 9 and filed the nomination as independent for the bypoll for the Bellary Rural seat, a day after meeting his mentor and mining baron G. Janardhana Reddy in Hyderabad's Chanchalaguda jail. Reddy has been in jail since Sep 5 in connection with illegal mining case in Andhra Pradesh.

Sriramulu had won the seat in the May 2008 assembly polls but quit in September as he was not taken in the cabinet of D.V. Sadananda Gowda that succeeded Yeddyurappa minister that went out July 31.

Yeddyurappa resigned as his trial for corruption in the illegal mining scandal was recommended by the then Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde on July 27. Putting up a united face has become necessary for BJP leaders as several party legislators from Bellary and neighbouring districts owe their allegiance to Reddy brothers and are campaigning for Sriramulu.

Yeddyuappa is however confident that most of the legislators backing Sriramulu will soon work for the victory of the party candidate. "I am going to Vaishnodevi (a Hindu pilgrimage centre) Nov 20. On return, I will campaign in the constituency for three days along with other leaders. I am bound by the party state unit's decision to campaign for our candidate," he said.

He said he was confident the party legislators now backing Sriramulu will soon start campaigning for the party candidate. He will campaign for six days in two phases. Other leaders who will be canvassing for the party candidate are Chief Minister Gowda and state party chief K. S. Eshwarappa.

Counting of votes is on Dec 4.

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