The battle for Bellary, the mining capital of Karnataka, was expected to be a hot contest. However on Thursday, a day before the second phase of the elections, things took an ugly turn with the Bellary police detaining, Janardhan Reddy, mine owner and Bharatiya Janata Party MLC and BJP candidate and former tourism minister Sriramulu.
Reddy was taken into custody by the Gandhinagar police on charges of abetting the assault of a Congress worker in Bellary. In a complaint to the police, a Congress worker named Nani alleged that he had been assaulted by BJP candidate and former minister, Sriramulu. It was also stated that Sriramulu had assaulted him at the instance of Janardhan Reddy late on Wednesday night.
Bellary is tense following the arrests. BJP activists staged a dharna outside the police station and demanded their release. Police have beefed up security in Bellary and they are not taking any chances as the district goes to polls on May 16.
Both Sriramulu and Reddy have been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the past. Reddy had threatened to expose former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in the mining bribery scam, which almost threatened to bring down the then Janata Dal-Secular-BJP government. Sriramulu too had made news when he alleged that Kumaraswamy had tried to kill him. This was one of the main reasons used by the JD-S to back track from their promise of handing over power to the BJP.