Bengaluru: Gali Janardhan Reddy, the scam tainted politician who has spent three years in jail over corruption charges, will campaign for the BJP in the Karnataka assembly elections, the party's chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa has told NDTV.
- Scam-hit mining baron Janardhan Reddy campaigns for BJP in Karnataka
- BJP chief Amit Shah has denied he has anything to do with party
- But Yeddyurappa says his support will be "helpful"
This assertion comes days after BJP president Amit Shah's emphatic denial that the party had anything to do with the mining baron often called the 'King of Ballari'.
Janardhan Reddy will support the BJP in two-three districts, said Mr Yeddyurappa, adding that "it will be helpful for us".
Asked whether it would dent the anti-corruption plank of the BJP that is keen on wresting the only state it once ruled, the former chief minister seemed to cite political expediency. "Who all are going to support our candidates, we must take their help. This is such a crucial time."
The BJP has fielded two brothers of Janardhan Reddy in Ballari, the heart of the mining empire of the Reddy brothers. B Srimaulu, a key aide of Janardhan Reddy, is contesting against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Badami.
Janardhan Reddy did not ask for tickets, Mr Yeddyurappa told NDTV. When asked whether it was his decision or that of the BJP central leadership to give tickets to Reddy brothers, he said "unanimously we have taken this decision".
This has given fresh ammunition to the Congress that has launched an aggressive campaign to retain one of the few states it currently rules.
"The Reddy brothers have stolen Rs 35,000 crore from the people of Karnataka yet the BJP has given them tickets. And Narendra Modi talks about removing corruption, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi told an election rally in Karnataka's Bantwal on Friday.
Two days ago, NDTV reported that Janardhan Reddy, who is out on bail and has been barred from entering Ballari, campaigned just outside the district for Sriramulu.
"After nine years, there is no proof of illegality against me," he told NDTV.
Janardhan Reddy was made a minister in the Yeddyurappa government after the BJP won the assembly elections in 2008. Three years later, the CBI arrested Janardhan Reddy on charges of illegal mining. Mr Yeddyurappa too had to quit after a Lokayukta report on illegal mining indicted him and his family.
The former chief minister says he has learnt from experience. "I will be very careful (about the Reddy brothers) while forming the government," he told NDTV.