Double whammy for BJP in Karnataka: Bypoll defeat, lacking Janardhana Reddy give Congress ample ammo


The “King” has not solely abdicated the throne however can be on the run to flee arrest. We’re speaking in regards to the “King” of the “Republic of Ballari”, as Karnataka’s mining baron and former BJP minister Gali Janardhana Reddy was as soon as referred to as by the state’s Lokayukta.

Reddy disappeared on Wednesday, when the Central Crime Department (CCB) of the Karnataka police started to look out for him. The brand new case has nothing to do with any iron-ore fraud however is expounded to a Rs-600-crore Ponzi rip-off. The mining don allegedly struck a Rs 18-crore deal with the scamsters apparently to make use of his good places of work with BJP and save them from the clutches of Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The police have fashioned particular groups to hint Reddy and others concerned within the Ponzi scheme during which some 15,000 individuals had been allegedly cheated out of their investments after they had been supplied excessive returns.

Coming simply day after the BJP’s crushing defeat within the by-election to the Ballari Lok Sabha constituency, the brand new case in opposition to Reddy provides to the get together’s troubles when the 2019 Lok Sabha election is barely months away. The BJP candidate (Shantha) who misplaced the Ballari seat is the sister of B Sriramulu, a celebration MLA and a detailed affiliate of Reddy. Regardless of BJP’s clumsy efforts to distance itself from the mining mafia, it’s frequent information that Reddy is a key wheeler-dealer of the get together within the state.

Hyperlinks with Congress too

File picture of Janardhan Reddy. PTI

Reddy’s mining kingdom was linked not solely to BJP however even with the Congress up to now, in addition to late Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy (not associated to him), whose son YS Jaganmohan Reddy, now, heads YSRP Congress within the neighbouring state. It’s one other matter that Jaganmohan Reddy is now cosying as much as BJP in Andhra Pradesh. But it surely’s the alleged nexus that Janardhana reddy has with the Karnataka BJP, particularly its state president and Lingayat veteran BS Yeddyurappa, that seems to be strongest and most direct.

Congress in Karnataka has been accusing Yeddyurappa of hobnobbing with the mining mafia particularly since 2008 when Reddy helped BJP win the state meeting election and the Lingayat chief grew to become the chief minister. Janardhana Reddy, his brother Karunakara Reddy and his buddy B Sriramulu grew to become ministers, whereas one other brother Somashekhara Reddy was made the chief of the state’s highly effective milk federation.

In 2011, scams led to Yeddyurappa’s resignation as chief minister and Reddy’s arrest by CBI. Reddy got here out after almost 4 years, however Siddaramaiah, who grew to become chief minister in 2013, despatched him again to jail in 2015. He obtained out on bail, one of many situations being that he shouldn’t enter Ballari. This pressured him to function from a village near the Ballari border.

BJP’s reliance on Reddy

Although BJP nationwide president Amit Shah publicly disowned Reddy through the Could 2018 Meeting election, the get together relied on him closely. Reddy himself was not given a celebration ticket, however eight of his household and mates had been. They included Sriramulu, who was even tipped to develop into BJP’s deputy chief minister if the get together gained the election.

Even Congress and JD(S) shamelessly fielded a number of mining scamsters as candidates, but it surely was kingpin Reddy’s direct involvement with BJP that obtained the get together in hassle.

Reddy promised BJP he’ll win a great variety of seats for the get together within the meeting ballot, however delivered just a few. Of the 9 seats in Ballari district, the get together gained solely three. This could have made it clear that his political affect was on the wane, however BJP ignored the warning bells, and fielded Sriramulu’s sister because the Ballari by-election candidate.

The brand new case in opposition to Reddy has come as a well timed stick for Congress to beat the BJP with within the 2019 Lok Sabha election run-up. Congress will attempt to hit BJP the place it would harm most. Congress will punch holes in BJP’s proclamations on being a scam-free outfit and an epitome of lily-white innocence. At nationwide stage, Congress has been desperately making an attempt to make use of the Rafale deal to cost Prime Minister Narendra Modi with corruption with none shred of laborious proof, however the Reddy affair is a comparatively sharper weapon it may use in opposition to BJP in Karnataka within the weeks and months to come back.

Yeddyurappa’s place because the state BJP chief, which got here beneath a cloud after this week’s humiliating by-election defeat in Ballari, could develop into much more untenable after Reddy’s implication within the Ponzi rip-off. Whereas the by-election catastrophe got here in useful for Yeddyurapa’s enemies throughout the get together to as soon as once more scream for his scalp, the newest rip-off solely makes Amit Shah’s activity of cleansing up the state unit much more pressing.

‘Your CBI versus our police’?

Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of Janata Dal (Secular) and former chief minister Siddaramaiah of Congress, who made a spectacle of their variations after their events fashioned the coalition authorities six months in the past, grew to become united in preventing the 5 Lok Sabha and Meeting by-elections on three November. Having notched up a powerful 4:1 victory, Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah now have one more reason to be much more united of their mission of going after Reddy. Each had been as soon as Reddy’s private targets.

The Ponzi episode additionally provides the Congress-JD(S) mix to taunt BJP with the jibe ‘your-CBI-versus-our-police’. The Modi authorities is being accused of utilizing central companies in opposition to political rivals, the newest amongst them being Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP’s ally-turned-enemy Chandrababu Naidu of Telugu Desam. Naidu is making an attempt to forge an anti-BJP alliance together with events that embody JD(S) and Congress.

Congress can also use the Reddy affair to sling some mud on Exterior Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, stating that he campaigned for her in Ballari Lok Sabha seat, the place she was a candidate in opposition to Sonia Gandhi in 1999. The get together’s trolls are already doing that on social media, ignoring the truth that Reddy obtained his first mining license a few years after 1999.

But it surely’s Yeddyurappa who have to be cautious of what’s in retailer for him.

The writer tweets @sprasadindia

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