'I quit because the mining report falsely indicted me'
He is the blue-eyed boy of the powerful Reddy brothers -- G Karunakara Reddy, G Janardhana Reddy, G Somashekara Reddy -- from Bellary. They have relied on him on times of crisis on more than one occasion and on Sunday B Sriramulu once again proved why he is their closest aide.
He sprung a surprise when he resigned his seat in the Karnataka assembly, protesting against the Bharatiya Janata Party's decision to deny him a ministerial berth and for keeping the Reddy brothers out of the ministry.
In this interview with Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, the former Karnataka health minister says he has no intention of destabilising the state government.
Why this sudden decision to quit the Karnataka assembly?
It is not a sudden decision. I have been very hurt ever since my name figured in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.
Is that the only reason or is there a bigger game plan?
After the (Lokayukta) report was released, I went on to say that it must be accepted.
The state government has done a lot to stop illegal mining. However, I am hurt that there are allegations made against me because they are incorrect.
If the allegations are baseless, then why did you quit?
There is no one above the law and in due course of time, the true story will come out.
I have decided to quit since I am hurt.
Image: B Sriramulu, who resigned from the Karnataka assembly on Sunday, September 4
'Where is the rebellion?'
The talk is that you are more hurt that your name was omitted from the new cabinet.
That is not correct. We have worked very hard to build the party and I will not go against the wishes of the party. I have accepted the party's decision.
If that is the case, then why the rebellion?
Where is the rebellion? I have not quit the BJP. I have only resigned as a member of the assembly. My credibility had been questioned and I could not have continued as an MLA.
I have never indulged in illegal mining and hence it was very unfair that I was named in the report.
How much time do you give this BJP government in Karnataka?
The BJP will complete its full term and there is no threat to the government.
Image: The Karnataka assembly
'Reddy brothers did not stage-managed my plan to quit'
There is no harm in saying that I have MLAs supporting me. They are my well-wishers and I have taken the decision to quit by taking them into confidence. I have also consulted them before stepping down.
Is this some sort of game planned by the Reddy brothers and you are just a pawn?
No. That's not true.
But they are the ones who have been pitching for your inclusion in the state cabinet.
That may be the case, but they have not stage-managed anything.
More importantly, this is not an act. I will say for the 100th time that the only reason I have quit is because the Lokayukta report has tarnished my image.
Image: The Reddy brothers
'No intention of forming a new party'
No. But I will approach the people because I believe in the verdict of the people's court.
I will tour the state, meet the public and let them decide what I am.
There is talk that if your demands are not met, you will form a new party.
I have utmost respect for the party. I have no intention of destablising the government. I am just embarking on a state-wide tour to seek justice from the people.
I have no intention of forming a new party.
There is also talk that you may join the Janata Dal-Secular party shortly.
All these rumours need to be rubbished.
Image: BJP supporters in Karnataka
'This is my battle'
I do not need to quote numbers. But yes, I do have a lot of them supporting my decision. I have not paraded them since this is not about proving my strength.
Is this an individual decision or are there more people behind this?
It is my decision. I have made that very clear. This is my battle and I will be with the BJP.
Do you think your image has taken a beating after the allegations in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining?
No, my voters know that I have not indulged in any sort of illegal mining.
You will see in the days to come what the people think of me and how the allegations against me are baseless.
Image: The lotus, the BJP party symbol