B Sriramulu, a former Karantaka minister and close aide of the Reddy brothers -- Janardhan, Karunakar and Somashekhar, sent his resignation to the Bharatiya Janata Party central leadership in New Delhi on Wednesday evening after he announced his plans to quit the party. He will contest as an Independent candidate for the Bellary by-polls.
Sriramulu stepped down, as talks that the Karnataka BJP was planning to expel him gathered steam.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, Sriramulu said, "The manner in which I have been treated by the party has been insulting. The treatment has been crude and I do not think any of us from Bellary deserved that. I can never compromise with my self-respect and pride at any cost. The Lokayukta report against me has been nothing but unfair. Since I am not getting justice anywhere, I will go to the people's court and seek justice".
While the BJP is still deciding on a candidate to field against Sriramulu from Bellary, the Reddy brothers who have been backing him, have not yet taken any conclusive decision on floating a party. The Reddy brothers are officially still part of the saffron party.
Sources in Bellary said that floating a party is a long-term plan and the Reddy brothers will not implement it immediately. According to political analysts, Sriramulu and the Reddy brothers wanted to float a regional party and then tie up with YSR Congress President Jaganmohan Reddy. But now, the Reddy brothers want to test the waters and see how Sriramulu fares in the by-polls.
The Sriramulu-Reddy-Jagan combination was eyeing the powerful Reddy vote-bank along the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border. But the arrest of Janardhana Reddy in connection with the illegal mining scam stalled their plans.
Moreover, the Reddy brothers do not want to cause any trouble for the ruling BJP as they feel they would lose sympathisers if they do so.
Incidentally, Sriramulu had visited Hyderabad recently to meet Janardhana Reddy, who is lodged in Chanchalgudda jail.
Sriramulu had resigned as a member of the state legislative assembly in September after he was denied a ministerial berth.
The BJP had offered a ticket to Sriramulu to contest Bellary rural by-polls, but he had set forth the condition that he should be given a cabinet berth in case he wins. BJP leaders had refused to give a ministerial position to either Sriramulu or the Reddy brothers after the Lokayukta report on illegal mining found them guilty.