With Karnataka Elections in next few days, we present to our readers, a series tailored specifically for people who are interested in all the required information regarding this election. Mahesh Gajabar writes for you explaining why Karnataka is different and how their politics works since the early days. Readers are advised to draw their own conclusions from Author’s views. Here comes the second part of ‘Unfolding Karnataka’ Series, emphasizing Reddys’ importance in Karnataka. You can follow the series here.
During the 2010 Monsoon Session of the Karnataka Assembly, the then Opposition party leader Siddaramaiah attacked Reddy brothers over mining mafia and other alleged criminal activities on the floor of the House.
The entire Reddy clan, led by then minister Gali Janardhana Reddy, reacted angrily, daring Siddaramaiah to visit their fiefdom Ballary “if he had the guts”. They even threatened that they would beat him to death if goes there.
Thumping his chest, Siddaramaiah warned the Reddy brothers that he would lead a 350-km-long march of the Congress party to Ballary to “teach them a lesson”.
Siddaramaiah led that famous ‘padayathra’ to Ballary in August and held a massive rally of the Congress against the Reddy brothers’ “mafia”. That event changed public perception in favor of him and the Reddy empire started to crumble.
A year later, S Yeddyurappa was forced to quit as the Chief Minister over the Rs 50,000 crore mining scam, the Reddys were arrested by the CBI and sent to jail. Two years later, when Siddaramaiah led the Congress to victory in Karnataka, Janardhana Reddy was cooling his heels at Chachalguda jail in Hyderabad. His empire was in shambles and Reddy was a persona non grata for the BJP. Sushma amma stopped talking to them and maintained distance from them.
The Reddy brothers still enjoy a lot of clout in Bellary, neighboring Chitradurga and Raichur districts using their friend Bellary MP B Sriramulu is a popular leader among the Scheduled Tribes. These districts have huge ST population almost equal to that of Lingayat and SCs in this area.
After spending almost four years in jail as an under-trial, Janardhana Reddy managed to come out of it. But the BJP was not ready to touch him even with a barge pole and the Siddaramaiah government sent him to jail once again in another mining cases.
After a few months, he came out of jail and declared before his inner circle that it was now a personal battle between him and Siddaramaiah and that he would “teach him a lesson” in the next Assembly elections.
As promised, Janardhana Reddy is now back in full form, leading the BJP campaign, threatening to unseat Siddaramaiah. And the battle for Karnataka is getting tougher for both.
Surprisingly, seven members from the Reddy clan have secured BJP tickets just two weeks after BJP chief Amit Shah disowned Janardhana Reddy in a press meet in Karnataka.
The ruling Congress has made the return of the Reddys a big election issue, calling the BJP a corrupt party that is promising a corruption-free Karnataka. It has also taken a dig at Yeddyurappa who could not secure a nomination even for his son Vijayendra against Siddaramaiah’s son Yatheendra in Varuna.
– To be Continued –
(Mahesh Gajabar contributed to this article in his personal capacity. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Netive.in.)