Reddy clan wins big, bags 4 out of 7 seats in Karnataka

Janardhana Reddy’s brothers and their aide B Sriramulu won convincingly from their respective constituencies.
Reddy clan wins big, bags 4 out of 7 seats in Karnataka
Reddy clan wins big, bags 4 out of 7 seats in Karnataka
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The BJP's decision to bring the mining scam-tainted Reddy brothers back into politics paid off in some constituencies, but didn’t in others - two Reddy brothers and their close aide B Sriramulu won, but four others, who are close to the family, losing.

Somashekara Reddy, contesting for the BJP in Ballari City won by over 16,000 votes.

Karunakara Reddy contesting for the party in Harapanahalli, won by just under 10,000 votes.

B Sriramulu, a close aide of Janardhana Reddy, contested in two places - Badami and Molakalmuru. While he faced defeat in Badami, losing to Siddaramaiah, he won convincingly in Molakalmuru.

Meanwhile, Sanna Fakirappa who is Sriramulu's uncle, ost by 3000-odd votes from Ballari Rural constituency.

TH Suresh Babu, Sriramulu’s nephew, lost from Kampli constituency by about 5,000 votes, while actor Saikumar, an associate of Janardhana Reddy, lost by a massive margin votes from Bagepalli constituency. NY Gopalakrishna, who joined the party from Congress, won by close to 11,000 votes from Kudligi constituency.

Lalesh Reddy, nephew of the Reddy family also lost from his constituency in BTM Layout.

The return of the infamous Reddy brothers to politics generated plenty of discussion in the run-up to the polls. The three brothers - Janardhana, Somashekara and  Karunakara - once wielded significant power in the BJP. The trio contested and won in the 2008 Assembly elections when the BJP first came to power in the state. They were then also given ministerial positions in the government then.

The eldest, Karunakara Reddy, served as Revenue Minister, Janardhana Reddy was Tourism Minister and the youngest, Somashekara Reddy was the chairman of the Karnataka Milk Federation.

However, the political fortunes of the influential Reddy brothers took a hit when the Karnataka Lokayukta in 2011 named Janardhana Reddy as the prime accused in the Ballari Mining Scam. He was later arrested.

With his arrest, the BJP distanced itself from being associated with the tainted Reddy brothers. Janardhana was incarcerated at the Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru for 3 years and 4 months, before he finally got his bail in 2016 after paying Rs 20 lakh as surety.

The party then contested in the 2013 elections. However, the BJP suffered a heavy defeat in the hands of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress.

Not wanting to take chances, the party gave tickets to Somashekara and Karunakara to contest from Ballari City and Harapanahalli constituencies respectively. Janardhana, meanwhile, spearheaded the campaign of B Sriramulu, the party's candidate in Badami and Molakalmuru.

Badami saw an interesting contest as Sriramulu faced-off against Siddaramaiah.

Though Janardhana Reddy wanted to campaign for the BJP in Ballari, he was prevented from doing so as his bail condition prohibits him from entering Ballari--the heart of his mining empire. However, bypassing the bail obligation, he took up residence in Hanagal on the border of Chitradurga and Ballari, and coordinated the BJP's campaign. Eyewitnesses reported that thousands of people would visit the house with activities going on till late in the night. Janardhana Reddy was also spotted sharing a stage with BS Yeddyurappa in Molakalmuru.

However, to maintain its clean image as a corrupt-free party, BJP President Amit Shah stated that the party had no relationship with Janardhana Reddy while addressing reporters in Mysuru on March 31.  

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