Karnataka 2018

BJP high command distances itself from Reddy, but BSY bats for him

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The mining baron’s connection with the party has many within the BJP confused

Friday saw confusion in the BJP camp over mining baron and former Minister G. Janardhan Reddy’s connection to the party, with leaders speaking in conflicting voices.

State president B.S. Yeddyurappa openly batted for Mr. Reddy, while other senior partymen insisted that the mining baron had nothing to do with the BJP and was campaigning for his aide B. Sriramulu as a friend.

Speaking at Arakalgud in Hassan, Mr. Yeddyurappa said, “We will win 10 to 15 seats in north Karnataka because of Janardhan Reddy.” This was hours after BJP national president Amit Shah cancelled his scheduled trip to Ballari at the eleventh hour, sources say, not wanting to be seen sharing the stage with any of the Reddy brothers.

Sources in the party said Mr. Yeddyurappa was sulking over the way his son was denied ticket in Varuna and seemed not to care for the high command’s instruction to him to distance the party from the mining baron. Sources said Mr. Shah was upset at how Mr. Yeddyurappa recently shared the stage with Mr. Reddy in Molakalmur, saying his return “had given the party jumbo strength”.

Sources said Mr. Yeddyurappa, Mr. Reddy and Mr. Sriramulu seemed to have patched up their old differences and come together.

A source close to Mr. Yeddyurappa said he “knew better the State’s political terrain and thinks Mr. Reddy would be a valued addition.”

Mr. Shah, during a meeting on Friday morning in Bengaluru, is said to have communicated to Mr. Yeddyurappa the party’s stand.

Senior leader R. Ashok, coming out after meeting Mr. Shah, clarified the party’s stand that the BJP had no relationship with Mr. Reddy and he was only campaigning on behalf of Mr. Sriramulu in his personal capacity as a friend. But hours later, Mr. Yeddyurappa spoke in defence of Mr. Reddy.

Modi campaign set to begin

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to begin campaigning in the State, with three rallies on May 1. On a whirlwind tour, he will address rallies in Santemarahalli (Chamarajanagar), Udupi, and Chikkodi, Belagavi district. The BJP is betting heavily on the last leg of the campaign to attain a simple majority.

BJP sources said Mr. Modi will also address rallies in Hubballi, Bengaluru, Chitradurga, Tumakuru, Raichur, Ballari and other crucial districts during the 10 days he is here, the final schedule for which is yet to be finalised.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 6:53:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/karnataka-2018/bjp-high-command-distances-itself-from-reddy-but-bsy-bats-for-him/article23702539.ece

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