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BJP may lose its hold over Republic of Bellary

Last updated on: April 26, 2013 19:04 IST

BJP may lose its hold over Republic of Bellary

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In Bellary, the election campaigns are mellow and the flamboyance is missing, reports Vicky Nanjappa

The Republic of Bellary, the mining capital of Karnataka, wears a forlorn look today.

Once a booming city enjoying the spoils of illegal mining, it is today a mere shadow of its glory days, after a Supreme Court order put an end to the spurious activities of local mining barons.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Virupaksha Gouda, a candidate who has no connection to mining, the Congress has fielded Anil Lad, whose name figures in the damning report by the state Lokayukta on illegal mining.

Once upton a time, the Reddy brothers -- Janardhan, Somashekhar and Karunakar -- controlled Bellary completely and ensured that the BJP won there by hook or crook. They also exercised considerable influence on voters in neighbouring constutiencies such as Gadag, Koppal, Raichur and Haveri.

Photographs: Jagadish Kurugodu

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Image: A pigeon bears the BJP's symbol


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BJP may lose its hold over Republic of Bellary

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Right now, Janardhan Reddy is in jail, Somashekhar Reddy is maintaining a low-profile after the judge-bribing scandal and Karunakar Reddy has moved to Davangere to fight on a BJP ticket.

The absence of the Reddy brothers in Bellary has helped the BJP clean up its dubious reputation in this area. But after the drubbing the party got in the by-election and the urban local body polls, its prospects in the forthcoming state elections look bleak.

The problems for the BJP have further worsened with the exit of B Sriramulu, its key leader in Bellary Rural constituency.

Sriramulu has floated his own party -- BSR Congress – and is likely to retain his seat.

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Image: Congress leader and Union minister Mallikarjuna Kharge campaigns for Anil Lad


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BJP may lose its hold over Republic of Bellary

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With the powerful Reddy brothers out of the picture, as many as 29 candidates have filed their nominations in Bellary City.

These candidates point out that it was virtually impossible to fight an election with the Reddy brothers in the fray, as they had enough clout and money power to ensure a win every time.

The BJP's reversal of fortunes is evident by the fact that the party's candidate had lost his deposit to Sriramulu in the by-election.

In the urban body poll, Congress won in 136 wards this year; in the last election, the party had won in only 66 wards.

Sriramulu's BSR Congress party won in only 51 of the 240 wards in Bellary.

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Image: BJP leader Virupaksha Goud campaigns in Bellary


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BJP may lose its hold over Republic of Bellary

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In spite of its weak performance, the BSR Congress will eat into the BJP's vote share, giving the Congress a distinct advantage.

The warring factions within the local Congress had united after the party's stellar performance in the urban local body polls.

The Congress may perform better in Bellary than the last time, but it is bound to face dissent as many party workers are not happy with the ticket distribution process.

Party workers, who had opposed the leadership's decision to grant a ticket to mining baron Anil Lad, may affect the Congress campaign in Bellary.

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Image: A Congress rally in Bellary


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