Mining Baron Janardhana Reddy Breaks Ties With BJP, Announces New Party

G Janardhana Reddy is an accused in illegal mining case. (File photo)

Bengaluru:

Former Karnataka Minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy on Sunday announced a new party named “Kalyana Rajya Pragati Paksha”.

With this, the leader who is an accused in illegal mining case, has cut his two-decade-old association with the BJP.

Re-entering Karnataka’s electoral politics from outside Ballari district, he also announced he will contest the 2023 Assembly polls from Gangavathi in Koppal district.

“Despite BJP leaders saying that I’m not the member of the party and have no relationship with it, the state and its people believed that I’m from that party, that belief has turned out to be false. Today I’m announcing Kalyana Rajya Pragati Paksha, with my own thinking, with the thinking of Basavanna (12th century social reformer), which is against the divisive politics in the name of religion and caste,” Reddy said.

Speaking to reporters, he said, in the days to come he will travel across the state to organise the party and to share his thoughts with the people.

“I have never failed in any of my new initiatives so far in my life. From the days of playing marbles in my childhood, I’m someone who never accepted defeat. So at the time when I’m going before the people with Kalyana Rajya Pragati Paksha, I’m confident about getting their blessings and there is no doubt about Karnataka becoming a Kalyana Rajya (welfare state) in the future,” he added.

G Janardhana Reddy had been by and large inactive politically for nearly 12 years now, since the time he was arrested by the CBI for his alleged role in the mining scam, other than for a brief stint ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls when he had campaigned for his close friend and now Minister B Sriramulu in Molakalmuru Assembly segment.

Ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls, the then BJP national President Amit Shah responding to reporter’s question had said that “BJP has nothing to do with Janardhana Reddy.” Further noting that he will contest the next Assembly elections, Reddy who is not allowed in his home district Ballari said, “I have made a house in Gangavathi and have enrolled in the electoral list there, and will contest from there.” Accused in a multi-crore illegal mining case, he has been out on bail since 2015 and several conditions were imposed by the supreme┬ácourt in its order, including prohibiting him from visiting Ballari in Karnataka and Ananthpur and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh.

He had sought permission to visit Ballari to meet his daughter who recently gave birth to a girl, which was allowed by the SC.

G Janardhana Reddy’s wife Aruna Lakshmi, had recently performed “gruha pravesha pooja” (housewarming ceremony) at their new home in Gangavathi, the constituency lies on the border of Ballari district and is 62 kilometres away from Ballari city.

Indicating his wife’s political entry, in response to a question, he said, “my wife will work along with me in organising the party and also in public life.” He also said he will tour across the state and come out with a manifesto and a plan regarding where the new party will contest the next Assembly polls “In ten-fifteen days I will announce the party flag, symbol, also come out with plans regarding manifesto and probably with some candidates,” he added.

G Janardhana Reddy has been upset with the way the BJP has been treating, by ignoring him, for few years now, a party functionary said, adding him floating a new party may have some impact on the saffron party in certain constituencies, especially in the Ballari belt, by reducing its vote share.

G Janardhana Reddy’s elder brother Karunakara Reddy is BJP MLA from Harapanahalli Assembly constituency, while younger brother Somashekar Reddy represents the Ballari rural segment from the party, and Sriramulu is a MLA from Molakalmuru in Chitradurga district and Tribal Welfare Minister.

In response to a question, Reddy said he will not misuse his friendship to force Sriramulu, who is a Minister in the current BJP government, to join the new party, and the same is the case with his brothers.

Recently, there have been reports about strain in Reddy and Sriramulu’s friendship, which has been rejected by both.

Mr Reddy also recalled the names of BJP’s leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar and also B S Yediyurappa, as he bid goodbye to the saffron party.

Reddy and his brother-in-law B V Srinivas Reddy, managing director of Obalapuram Mining Company (OMC), were arrested by CBI on September 5, 2011, from Bellary and brought to Hyderabad.

The company is accused of changing mining lease boundary markings and indulging in illegal mining in the Ballari Reserve Forest area, spread over Ballari in Karnataka and the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh.

G Janardhana Reddy first came to the political limelight during 1999 Lok Sabha elections, when he campaigned for the late Sushma Swaraj, who contested against Sonia Gandhi from Ballari.

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