Karnataka's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday took the first step to discipline mining barons Reddy brothers, who have propped up their associate B. Sriramulu as an independent candidate for the Nov 30 bypoll to Bellary Rural seat in the assembly.
The party issued notice to Gali Somashekara Reddy, younger brother of jailed Gali Janardhana Reddy, former Karnataka tourism minister, and three other party law makers seeking an explanation as to why action should not be taken for campaigning for Sriramulu.
Though the written notice issued to them said they had been given three days time to explain, state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa told reporters that they have to reply by Saturday.
Somashekara remained defiant telling reporters in Bellary, about 300 km from here, that he will reply once he gets the notice and “is ready for any action the party will take against him”.
The others are Suresh Babu, B. Nagendra and Mrutyunjaya Jinaga. The four lawmakers are from Bellary. While, Somashekara, Babu and Nagendra are assembly members, Jinaga is in the legislative council.
Eshwarappa indicated that action may be taken against two party Lok Sabha members, J. Shantha and Sanna Fakirappa for campaigning for Sriramulu. Shantha is Sriramulu’s sister.
He did not say whether all those BJP law makers canvassing for Sriramulu will be suspended or expelled from the party.
The BJP has fielded a Bellary businessman P. Gadilingappa who is contesting for the assembly for the first time. The Congress has fielded B. Ramprasad, who had lost to Sriramulu in the May 2008 assembly polls. The Janata Dal-Secular is not contesting.
The bypoll follows Sriramulu quitting the seat in September as he was not taken in the cabinet of D. V. Sadananda Gowda that succeeded B. S. Yeddyurappa ministry on Aug 4.
Yeddyurappa quit July 31 following the then Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde recommended his trial for corruption in illegal mining scam.
Hegde had also indicted Janardhana Reddy, his elder brother G. Karunakara and Sriramulu. Hence none of them was made a minister again.
Janardhana Reddy is in Hyderabad’s Chanchalaguda jail since Sep 5 in connection with illegal mining case in Andhra Pradesh.
While Somashekara has been campaigning for Sriramulu, Karunakara has not been seen in public since he appeared before Central Bureau of Investigation in Hyderabad for interrogation a few days after Janardhana’s arrest.