In Ballari, PM Shares Stage With Corruption-Charged Reddy Brother

The BJP has been facing intense criticism from the Congress since it named Gali Somashekhara Reddy in its second list on April 17.

Karnataka elections: PM Modi shared stage with Gali Somashekhara Reddy

Highlights

  • PM shared stage with Gali Somashekhara Reddy at the District Stadium
  • Reddy brothers have been accused of illegal mining across Ballari
  • Ballari became second stop in PM's second visit to Karnataka this week
Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday shared stage with one of the Reddy brothers in Ballari - an act that was seen as putting his weight behind the BJP's most controversial move in the assembly election in Karnataka. The Reddy brothers - lawmakers and ministers during the earlier BJP government in the state -- have been accused of conducting largescale illegal mining across the iron-ore-rich district of Ballary.

Ballari -- from where they have been given ticket again -- became the second stop in PM Modi's second visit to the state this week.

The BJP has been facing intense criticism from the Congress since it named Gali Somashekhara Reddy in its second list on April 17. Ticket for a second brother, Gali Karunakara Reddy followed. Gali Janardhana Reddy, a former minister who has the bulk of accusations against him, was soon seen campaigning across the district for the BJP.

The BJP has defended the move as a "compromise", claiming they are the party's best chances for a victory in the area. The Central leadership, which presumably approved the move, has been silent despite numerous Congress demands for an explanation.

On thursday, PM Modi shared stage with Gali Somashekhara Reddy at the District Stadium before hundreds of supporters. He did not speak about the candidate or Congress allegations. Instead, he chose to focus on the alleged Congress failures.

"Sonia Gandhi had promised a 3000-crore package to Ballari, but forgot her promise. Despite all the natural resources, Ballari hasn't be able to develop, because of the government in Bengaluru. This government hasn't done anything," the Prime Minister said.

The Reddy brothers represent a chunk of corruption allegations that mushroomed during the BJP government led by BS Yeddyurappa.  Gali Somasekhara Reddy is accused of bribing a judge in the cash-for bail case that involved Janardhan Reddy.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who are spearheading the attack on the BJP over corruption, were scathing in their criticism.

Early this morning, Mr Siddaramaiah had welcomed PM Modi with a tweet:  "As you arrive in Bellary, we look forward to hear your commentary on corruption. Don't forget to mention Reddy's record scam score of 35,000 cr & still not out. With star players like Yeddy-Reddy, your score in Karnataka will be well short of 60."

The Prime Minister's allegations in Ballari provoked another series of tweets:
  
Earlier, under BJP Govt here your friends the Reddys used earn. Not govt!

In Bidar, Rahul Gandhi also referred to the Rs 35,000 crore and demanded that the Prime Minister admit that he also had made a "corrupt individual his Chief Ministerial candidate".  Mr Yeddyurappa had to step down from the state's top post in August 2011 following corruption allegations against him.
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