Supporters of current MLA Thippeswamy are angry at the BJP's choice and pelted stones at Sriramulu.

Dissent against Sriramulu grows current MLA supporters pelt stones Can BJP douse the fire
news Karnataka 2018 Friday, April 13, 2018 - 17:39

It appears that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decision to field B Sriramulu from Molakalmuru in Chitradurga has not gone down well with supporters of S Thippeswamy, current MLA of Molakalmuru.

Supporters of Thippeswamy intensified their protests against Sriramulu on Friday morning after protesters pelted stones and hurled slippers at Sriramulu's car when he arrived in Molakalmuru. Sriramulu sustained injuries, according to reports.

Mahendra Kumar, police officer at Nayakanahatti police station in Chitradurga confirmed that police resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the crowd and that 25 people were detained in the ensuing melee. 

The BJP has several fires to douse before elections after the party released its first list of candidates on Sunday.

But the biggest of them all seems to be the decision on making Sriramulu, an MP, contest in assembly polls and that too from Chitradurga, adjoining his home district Ballari.

The supporters had earlier marched to Ballari on Thursday and staged a dharna outside Sriramulu's residence and near Moti circle in the town. The supporters were convinced by Ballari Superintendent of Police (SP) Arun Rangarajan to withdraw the protest and return to Molakalmuru.

Incidentally, Thippeswamy was a staunch supporter of Sriramulu. He had earlier walked out of the BJP in 2011 along with Sriramulu, who formed a separate party - Badavara Shramikara Raithara (BSR) Congress. Thippeswamy contested and won in Molakalmuru in 2013 as a BSR Congress candidate.

And when Sriramulu rejoined the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Thippeswamy followed him in 2015.

The bone of contention between the two emerged when Sriramulu was moved out of Ballari district for the first time and was named as the party's contestant from Molakalmuru, which is dominated by Valmiki Naiks (also spelt Nayakas).

Sriramulu, considered the top leader of the community, will be looking to sway votes from the community in a district considered a Congress bastion.

Congress won four out of six seats in the district in the 2013 assembly elections.

Sriramulu is also a close aide of the Reddy brothers – Karunakara, Janardhana and Somashekhar Reddy –  and the decision to field him in Molakalmuru appears linked to the party's attempt to consolidate power in the region by using the influence of these brothers.

The political fortunes of the three brothers took a hit when they were named by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in the mining scam in 2011.

Janardhana Reddy is prohibited from entering Ballari district as per his bail conditions and sources close to the BJP confirmed that he is set to stay with Sriramulu in Molakalmuru in the coming days and back him in the elections.

BJP National President Amit Shah, during his recent visit to Mysuru, said the party had nothing to do with Janardhana Reddy but in a recent interview with News18,  Muralidhar Rao, Karnataka in-charge for the party, said that the party cannot stop him from campaigning.

It appears that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decision to move B Sriramulu from Ballari to Molakalmuru in Chitradurga has not gone down well with supporters of S Thippeswamy, current MLA of Molakalmuru. 

Supporters of Thippeswamy intensified their protests against Sriramulu on Friday morning after protesters pelted stones and hurled slippers at Sriramulu's car when he arrived in Molakalmuru.

Mahendra Kumar, police officer at Nayakanahatti police station in Chitradurga confirmed that police resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the crowd and that 25 people were detained in the ensuing melee. 

 

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