Mining barons not done and dusted

Two Reddy brothers among winners

Updated - May 16, 2018 04:07 pm IST

Published - May 15, 2018 10:53 pm IST - Bengaluru

Back in saddle:  BJP supporters welcome the victory of  G. Somashekar Reddy in Ballari.

Back in saddle: BJP supporters welcome the victory of G. Somashekar Reddy in Ballari.

Two of the three controversial Reddy brothers, BJP MLAs indicted in a Lokayukta report for illegal mining which many believe led to the downfall of the BJP government, have won the Assembly elections.

G. Somashekhar Reddy, who is accused of bribing a judge after his brother G. Janardhana Reddy was arrested in 2012, won Ballari city seat by over 16,000 votes. He beat Anil Lad of the Congress — another former Miner with numerous cases to his name — and Mohamad Iqbal Hothur from the JD(S), yet another miner, who secured just 6,000 votes. Mr. Somashekhar Reddy’s brother Karunakar Reddy unseated the Congress incumbent from Harappanahalli in Davangere district.

A few weeks before the elections, it seemed like the BJP was on the back foot having to explain giving ticket to the Reddy brothers and their associates. Mr. Janardhana Reddy had even taken houses close to Ballari — where he was banned from entering after a Supreme court order — to campaign for the party. Amit Shah, BJP president, had to repeatedly clarify that the party had nothing to do with him.

Anand Singh and B. Nagendra, “tainted” miners who jumped ship to the Congress, have won in Ballari. However, Independent MLA-turned Congress candidate from the coastal city of Karwar, Satish Sail, who was arrested in connection with illegal mining, lost. In Kalghatgi in Mumbai Karnataka, Santosh Lad, a former miner and Congress’s Labour Minister, lost by over 30,000 votes.

Cong. maintains edge

T.H. Suresh Babu, also an associate of the Reddys and an accused in the judge bribing case, lost to the Congress, which maintained its edge in the iron-ore district where both Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned. Among the losers are some believed to be from the Reddy camp, including Telugu actor Sai Kumar (Bagepalli), Lalalji Reddy (BTM Layout in Bengaluru) and Sanna Fakirappa (Ballari Rural).

The mix of mining and politics continues, with B.S. Yeddyurappa of the BJP and H.D. Kumaraswamy of the JD(S), both indicted in the Lokayukta report, now staking claim to head the new government.

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