BJP Picks Corruption-Charged Reddy Brother In Karnataka, Says "Compromise"

Mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy, a minister in the government of BS Yeddyurappa, was removed after massive corruption charges involving illegal mining in 2011.

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Reddy is out on bail after spending three years in jail.

New Delhi:  The BJP second list of 82 names for the upcoming Karnataka elections released this evening contained a surprise candidate -- Gali Somashekhara Reddy fielded from Bellary City -- which drew immediate jeers from the Congress. Fifty-two-year-old G Somashekhara Reddy is the youngest of Reddy brothers, mining barons for whom the iron ore-rich district of Bellary was home turf. State BJP spokesperson Vivek Reddy told NDTV that the party has "made a compromise" by fielding him since it wanted to win the Bellary city.

Mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy was a minister in the government of BS Yeddyurappa, who is leading the BJP campaign in the state. Mr Reddy was removed after massive corruption charges involving illegal mining in 2011. Somasekhara Reddy, who represented Bellary in the assembly, is accused of bribing a judge in the cash-for bail case that involved Janardhan Reddy. He is currently out on bail.

Soon after the BJP list was out, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted:The Congress leader was referring to a recent slip of tongue by BJP chief Amit Shah during a meeting in Karnataka. Though Mr Shah had quickly corrected himself, it didn't check the rapid circulation of the video clip on social media, mostly by Congress supporters.

Today, Vivek Reddy said the BJP has "avoided drafting" any candidate convicted of corruption.

"Katta Subramanya Naidu and Krishnaiah Shetty were not given any seats in the last assembly elections because they were facing criminal charges. They have now been acquitted," he said, referring to the party's two senior leaders who have been given ticket this time from Shivaji Nagar and Malur.

Regarding Somashekhara Reddy, he said, "I think the party has made one compromise in order to ensure that we win the seat... it is not across the board like Congress... there are 67 complaints against Siddaramaiah".

G Janardhan Reddy, who is out on bail after spending three years in jail, hosted a spectacularly expensive wedding reception for his daughter in 2016, weeks after the government announced notes ban. Estimates of the costs for the function -- which included replicas of famous temples and 50,000 guests - varied from 30 to 500 crore rupees.

On April 8, the BJP declared its first list of 72 candidates which included its chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa, and senior leaders KS Eshwarappa and Jagadish Shettar.

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