Jailed mining baron and former Karnataka minister G. Janardhana Reddy will contest Karnataka assembly polls due May next, his brother and ruling BJP legislator G. Somashekara Reddy said Saturday.
"Janardhana Reddy will contest the coming assembly polls as candidate of Badavara, Shramikara, Raithara (Poor people, workers and farmers) Congress (BSR Congress)," Somashekara told reporters in this town, about 300 km north of Bangalore.
The BSR Congress was founded by Reddy loyalist and former state minister B.Sriramulu in June this year year after quitting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Janardhana Reddy, his brother K. Karunakara Reddy and Sriramulu were ministers in the government headed by B.S. Yeddyurappa. They lost the ministership after Yeddyurappa was forced to quit July last year over mining bribery charges.
Janardhana Reddy has been in prison, mostly in Hyderabad's Chanchalaguda jail and for some time in Bangalore central jail, since Sep 5 last year when he was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh.
He is facing charges of illegal mining in Karnataka also.
Though Somashekara Reddy is a BJP legislator from Bellary, he has identified with BSR Congress. The party has not taken any action against him so far.
He said the constituency from which his brother will contest has not been decided yet.
Somashekara Reddy said BSR party president Sriramulu would be informing CBI soon about Janardhana Reddy's decision to contest the polls.
He said Sriramulu had talks with Janardhana Reddy in Chanchalaguda jail on Nov 28 on the coming polls and the BSR Congress' plans.
Janardhana Reddy has sought bail from the CBI court in Hyderabad to contest the polls, Somashekara Reddy said.
Somashekara Reddy has already announced that he will contest the coming polls on BSR Congress ticket and not as a BJP candidate.
However his brother Karunakara Reddy has so far not made public his plans.
The Reddy siblings, sons of a police constable in Andhra Pradesh, have made iron-ore rich Bellary district in Karnataka their base.
Armed with the financial clout gained from iron ore mining, they dictated terms to BJP for three years between 2008 and 2011 when Yeddyurappa was in power.
Their decline began with the fall of Yeddyurappa ministry and the fortunes nose-dived with the arrest of Janardhana Reddy, who was the most vocal of the three.
BSR Congress was launched with much fanfare but with Janardhana Reddy languishing in jail, the party is believed to be in dire straits.
Plan to field Janardhana Reddy seems to be a desperate attempt to garner some support in a few north Karnataka districts.