BJP national president Amit Shah, who has been party's star campaigner in poll-bound Karnataka, has cancelled his rally in Ballari district in order to avoid being seen with the Reddy brothers, reports said.
Quoting party sources, News18 said that Shah decided to skip the rally to avoid the embarrassment of sharing the dais with Reddy brothers, who are embroiled in an alleged Rs 50,000 crore mining scam.
The development came as a surprise for BJP district president Channabasavanagowda. "We had put up his posters and party flags. We don't know why the rally was cancelled," he was quoted as saying by Deccan Chronicle.
Despite the allegations of corruption against them, the Reddy brothers appeared in BJP's list of candidates for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly election. The party has fielded G Somashekhara Reddy in Ballari city, and his elder brother and former Ballari Lok Sabha member G Karunakara Reddy in Harappanahalli in Davanagere district.
G Janardhana Reddy, the alleged kingpin of the mining scam, has been barred from entering Ballari, in accordance with his bail conditions in the illegal mining case.
The party has also fielded Lallesh Reddy, nephew of the Reddy brothers, from the BTM Layout segment in Bengaluru against Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy of the ruling Congress.
Shah has reportedly directed the state BJP members to not let Janardhana campaign openly.
Despite Shah's stand, BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa made a statement on Friday at a public rally in support of Janardhana, hours after the party national president cancelled his scheduled trip to Ballari.
“We will win 10 to 15 seats in north Karnataka because of Janardhana Reddy,” Yeddyurappa was quoted as saying at Arakalgud by The Hindu. The BJP's chief ministerial candidate also reportedly said that he has forgiven Janardhana in the interest of the state.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah lashed out at Yeddyurappa for his remark on Janardhana. Siddaramaiah tweeted:
Very interesting! @BSYBJP has pardoned Reddy in interest of state
1 Which interest of Karnataka is served by pardoning someone who looted thousands of crores of Kannadigas’ wealth?
2 Is it upto you to pardon him?
3 Did you ask PM Modi to direct CBI to formalise the ‘pardon’? pic.twitter.com/50D759dNRr
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) April 27, 2018
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had also dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to clarify why BJP gave tickets to Karnataka's tainted Reddy brothers to contest in the 12 May Assembly elections. "Modi, who talks about fighting corruption, must explain to the people why he is supporting the corrupt Reddy brothers by giving them tickets to contest in the state Assembly polls," he said at a public meeting in Bhatkal town.
"We want the people of Karnataka to be a part of the government and not of the Reddy brothers. Why is Modi supporting and protecting the corrupt? We will never allow them to loot the state," he had said.
Earlier, Janardhana was also seen campaigning for BJP's B Sriramulu who is contesting from two constituencies – from Molakalmuru in Chitradurga and Badami in Bagalkot. In Badami, Sriramulu is up against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Sriramulu had then defended Janardhana's presence saying he is a close friend.
With inputs from agencies
Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.
Updated Date: Apr 28, 2018 13:23:12 IST