Sriramulu expected to get BJP ticket from Bellary
The merger of the BSR Congress (Badavara, Shramikara, Raithara Congress) with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is imminent with the leaders of the two parties deciding to work together following several rounds of discussions over the past few days.
B. Sriramulu, president of the BSR Congress and MLA, is also expected to be fielded as the BJP candidate from Bellary. Mr. Sriramulu told The Hindu on Sunday that all that now remained for him was to discuss the matter with his party leaders and well-wishers before making an official announcement on the merger.
BJP sources said that the merger will benefit Mr. Sriramulu to join a mainstream national party, while the BJP will gain in strength with the former having emerged as an important leader of the Valimiki community. It is said that Mr. Sriramulu would be calling on his close friend and mining baron G. Janardhan Reddy before officially announcing the merger.
The leadership of the State BJP has conveyed to the national unit that it is keen on the merger, and a formal decision will be made shortly.
Mr. Sriramulu said, “I have convened a meeting of party MPs, legislators, leaders and workers in Bellary on March 5 to elicit their views on his returning to the BJP.” He also said, “The stand of the party workers would be my stand.”
When his attention was drawn to the reports that BJP leader Sushma Swaraj was opposing his return to the party, Mr. Sriramulu said that the senior leaders of the BJP, after discussing the issue with their national party leaders, had extended the invitation to him.
He said that he and a few of his party leaders had met senior BJP leaders and had ascertained from them that there was no opposition to their rejoining that party.
The BJP recently received a shot in the arm with the re-entry of B.S. Yeddyurappa and with this, the sway of the Congress, which stole the show in the last Legislative Assembly elections in the State, is expected to be curtailed in the Lok Sabha elections. The merger of the BSR Congress with the BJP will be an added strength given the fact that it (BSR Congress) has a fairly good following in five Lok Sabha constituencies — Bellary, Gadag, Chitradurga, Raichur and Koppal.
Mr. Sriramulu left the party in a huff when he and the Reddy brothers were not inducted into the D.V. Sadananda Gowda Ministry. He launched his own political outfit to take on the BJP and the Congress. This merger will also help in the augmentation of the BJP’s strength in the Legislative Assembly, from 44 to 48 as the BSR Congress has four MLAS.