Janardhana Reddy makes a jumbo return to BJP

The mining baron accompanied close aide B Sriramulu when he filed his papers as the BJP candidate here.

Saturday virtually marked former minister G Janardhana Reddy's return to party politics.

The mining baron accompanied close aide B Sriramulu when he filed his papers as the BJP candidate here.

Reddy, the main accused in the illegal ore mining scam, had stayed away from the party for the past few years. He had spent more than three years in connection with the scam. Presently, Reddy is on bail and has been restrained from entering Ballari district by the Supreme Court.

However, Reddy's renewed association with the BJP comes just days after party president Amit Shah asserting that there was no question of the mining baron returning to the party.

But he seems to retain clout in the Ballari belt and the saffron wants to just cash in on that. In fact, he has taken up accommodations in areas of Molkalmuru taluk and Anegundi taluk in Koppal district bordering Ballari district.

On Saturday, Yeddyurappa underlined Reddy's importance for the party by saying that the BJP had gained strength equal to 10 elephants with the mining baron identifying himself with the party.

The former chief minister was addressing the gathering of party supporters after Sriramulu filed his papers.

He had a word of advice for party workers to work at the booth level and that big attendance need not translate into votes.

Yeddyurappa said Sriramulu's contest from Molakalmuru would help the BJP win all seats from Chitradurga and Ballari districts.

Sriramulu said the Congress was under an illusion that Siddaramaiah would win the election for them.

Reddy seemed to have hit the ground running, launching a scathing attack on the Siddaramaiah dispensation for its maladministration and calling the chief minister 'Siddaravana'. The former minister expressed confidence that the backward classes would throw their weight behind the BJP this time round.

He said Sriramulu would trounce 'Siddaravana' and that the voters of Molakalmuru should support the Ballari MP in this.

N Y Gopalakrishna, the nominee from Mundargi seat, said as chief minister Yeddyurappa had helped bring water to Molakalmuru from the Rangaiahanadurga dam, though he was a legislator from Molakalmuru from the Opposition party Congress.

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