Karnataka: Re(a)ddy to ‘play football’ with political rivals in electoral arena

Mining baron Janardhana Reddy unveils party symbol, releases manifesto & list of 12 candidates

Former Karnataka minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy unveiling his party's poll symbol, football, in Karnataka. Photo credit: Twitter

Almost three months after launching his new political party, former Karnataka minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy on Monday unveiled football as its poll symbol while also releasing the party’s manifesto and first list of candidates, ahead of the Assembly elections.

An accused in an illegal mining case, Reddy had recently formed Kalyana Rajya Pragati Paksha (KRPP), snapping his two-decade-old association with the BJP. “When I was in politics earlier, I was treated like a football by everyone, irrespective of whether they were my own or others or enemies. Now I have entered the fray to prove that I too can play football with everyone,” Reddy told reporters after unveiling the party symbol.

Also read: Janardhana Reddy’s new party may hurt BJP’s Karnataka poll prospects

Impact in Ballari belt

According to some political observers, KRPP may have some impact on the BJP’s electoral prospects in certain constituencies, especially in the Ballari belt, by cutting into its votes.

KRPP is by and large concentrating on certain constituencies of Kalyana-Karnataka (earlier Hyderabad-Karnataka) region, and constituencies where there is considerable presence of Telugu speaking population.

Confirming his candidature from Gangavathi in Koppal district, and that of his wife Aruna Lakshmi from Ballari city assembly segment, Reddy announced the list of candidates for 10 other constituencies.

They are Mahesh (Hiriyur), Srikanth Bandi (Nagathan), Mallikarjuna Nekkanti (Sindhanur), Nagendra Neralekunte (Pavagada), Mehaboob (Indi), Lallesh Reddy (Sedam), Arekere Krishna Reddy (Bagepalli), Bhima Shankar Patil (Bidar South), Darappa Nayaka (Siruguppa), and Dr Charul (Kanakagiri).

Noting that his party’s organisational work is underway in about 15 districts, Reddy said he has been travelling in rural areas and people see hope in his party to bring about change and usher in development in their villages.

Focus on farmers, poor

KRPP’s manifesto includes Rs 15,000 capital support annually for farmers with less than 5 acres of land, 9 hours of continuous free power supply for farmers every day, Arogya Shree health cover to those having annual income less than Rs 5 lakh, Rs 2,500 per month financial assistance for women who run the house, 250 units of free power to every household, Rs 2,500 monthly unemployment allowance to jobless youth.

Also read: With talks of political comeback, Janardhana Reddy makes BJP anxious

The announcement of a new political outfit is being seen as an attempt by Reddy to re-assert his political credentials. Ballari is Reddy’s political backyard and, as he is handicapped by court imposed restriction on his entry into home district, he is contesting outside the district, while he has fielded his wife from there.

Politically inactive

Reddy had been by and large inactive politically for nearly 12 years, since the time he was arrested by the CBI for his alleged role in the mining scam.

Ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls, the BJP had dissociated itself from him, with the then BJP national president Amit Shah stating that “the party has nothing to do with Janardhana Reddy”.

Accused in a multi-crore illegal mining case, Reddy has been out on bail since 2015 and several conditions were imposed by the apex court in its order, including prohibiting him from visiting Ballari in Karnataka and Anantapur and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh.

(With Agency inputs)