‘No alliance, but will go with anyone who backs my plans’: In Janardhan Reddy’s poll gambit, a cryptic message

‘No alliance, but will go with anyone who backs my plans’: In Janardhan Reddy’s poll gambit, a cryptic message

Mining baron and ex-BJP minister in Karnataka unveils his party's symbol, a football. Plans to contest not more than 50 seats in state polls later this year, but all 224 in 2028.

KRPP founder Gali Janardhana Reddy at the launch of his party's symbol and Karnataka poll manifesto, in Bengaluru on Moday | Twitter | @GaliJanardhanar

KRPP founder Gali Janardhana Reddy at the launch of his party's symbol and Karnataka poll manifesto in March. He had claimed then that the football symbolises how his former allies played him and how he plans to play back | Twitter/@GaliJanardhanar

Bengaluru: Mining magnate Gali Janardhana Reddy sent a mixed message to his detractors Monday, stating that though he isn’t looking to partner with any other political party in Karnataka, but is open to back anyone who helps him fulfill his pre-poll promises. 

The former tourism minister of Karnataka said that he plans to contest in all 224 seats in the next elections, adding to the already complex and volatile political climate in the state. 

“There is no question of alliance with anybody. I am contesting not more than 50 seats (in 2023). So next in 2028, I am going full-fledged all over the state. I will contest 2028 in all 224 constituencies,” Reddy said at a press conference in Bengaluru. 

Reddy floated the Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Party (KRPP) in December after his attempts to return to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed. 

“We are contesting only 50 seats. I don’t know whether I will support someone or someone will support me. But will go with anyone who supports my plans,” he said.

Reddy’s decision to contest from 50 seats adds to the challenges of other political parties in the state where no government has been reelected since 1985.

A decade ago, Reddy was a key member of the BJP when it formed its first ever government in southern India but soon became an outcast after the iron-ore scam broke and brought down the party with it. 

In 2009, Reddy had held the BJP-led government to ransom when he took around 40 legislators to a resort outside Hyderabad to demand the removal of chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa. 

Nine years on, Reddy camped just outside of Ballari and ran the entire campaign to help his close aide B. Sriramulu win Molakalmuru constituency of Chitradurga district, but he himself was denied a ticket as the BJP wanted to keep its distance from the mining baron.  

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‘They though I am a football’

As the KRPP was allotted the sign of football as the official symbol of the party for the upcoming elections, Reddy held a football glued on a small platform with the statue of Lingayat reformer Basavanna in the background. 

“I have chosen football because everybody those days who I thought (were) my own people and (even) enemies just played with me. They thought I am a football… Now I want to play football thinking that all my, like whoever my friends, enemies and all, from whom I have suffered and all, I will play with this football (sic),” he told a news channel of India Today.

In December last year, Reddy recalled how he was tormented by the BJP which, he claimed, first asked to help Sriramulu win in 2018 and then raided by central agencies.

Reddy had claimed that then BJP president Amit Shah made a statement in 2018 that the party had nothing to do with him but two days later asked to meet with him. 

This treatment was meted after Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, in his 466-page report submitted in 2011, gave details of how mining lords, including the infamous ‘Reddy brothers’, had profited from the mining scam in Karnataka’s Ballari district which cost the state an estimated Rs 16,085 crore.

During the meeting, Reddy said, Shah asked him to ensure Sriramulu’s victory in Molkalmuru as he was contesting from Badami as well where the opponent was then chief minister Siddaramaiah. 

“He told me that I will be given an office-bearer post soon after the elections but instead my home was raided by the CBI in September 2018,” Reddy had said, adding that was the time when his daughter had just become a mother. “This humiliation happened despite the BJP being in power at the state and the Centre, was the last straw.”

(Edited by Tony Rai)

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