Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Ballari City G Somasekhara Reddy has said his brother's wife and rival Kalyana Rajya Pragati Paksha (KRPP) candidate Aruna Laxmi is a 'housewife and has no idea about the problems of the constituency'.
Aruna Laxmi is wife of mining baron G Janardhana Reddy.
Janardhana Reddy, who is an accused in an illegal mining case, had recently formed KRPP after snapping his two decade-old association with the Bharatiya Janata Party and fielded his wife from the Ballari City constituency against his brother Somashekhar Reddy.
"I helped Janardhana come out of jail and for the same reason, I stayed behind the bars for 63 days. But now he is making his wife contest against me. God will see who follows dharma and adharma. Aruna Laxmi is a housewife and ever since her name was announced she hasn't come out on the streets for campaigning. She doesn't know the problems of people here," Somasekhara Reddy told PTI.
He said that he is a 'grassroots level leader' in Ballari city and that even Congress candidate Na Ra Bharath Reddy 'has no idea about the issues' in the constituency.
"I have been working hard ever since I became municipal councillor. In 2008, I became MLA and I have put in more efforts and worked at grassroots level. My only job is politics and solving people's problems. My intention is that my city should grow. Even the Congress candidate Bharath Reddy has no knowledge about the issues in the city," he claimed.
Reacting to Somasekhara Reddy's statement, Laxmi said she is contesting as a KRPP candidate and not as Janardhana Reddy's wife.
"I am contesting as a candidate, not as Janardhana Reddy's wife. Ever since the party was floated, I have been working at the ground level. I have been visiting every ward and interacting with the common people. We do not bother about our opponents and our aim is only development," Laxmi told PTI.
Ballari is Janardhana Reddy's political backyard and, as he is handicapped by court imposed restriction on his entry into his home district, is contesting outside the district, while his spouse is testing her electoral fortunes from here.
Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Syed Nasir Hussain said KRPP is a new outfit and that its members are those who were 'discarded by the BJP and Congress'.
The Congress has fielded Bharath Reddy from the constituency.
"I don't think people of Ballari would like to elect a party that was neck deep in corruption in the past. Everyone knows the history of Janardhana Reddy and illegal mining scam. Moreover, we have a very promising candidate who is a grassroots level leader and also has strong family background," Hussain told PTI.
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.
Speaking about the issues in the constituency, Somasekhara Reddy said he intends to ensure 24/7 water-supply in the city, have better storage capacity for it and fix the drainage problem.
"We will also come up with 2 reservoirs in Kodagallu village and the corporation also has 300 acres for it," he said.
On the other hand, Aruna Laxmi said she is focusing on the issues of drainage problems and land title deeds in the constituency.
"There are many issues in Ballari city, from roads to water to drainage problems. In Ballari, people have homes but still don't have their Hakku Patras (land title deeds). We will take care of all these issues. When Janaradhan Reddy was in power, he did many developmental work in Ballari including the Ring road bypass, super speciality hospitals and several flyovers," she said.
Hussain said their party is focusing on a 'clean city and district' in the Ballari constituency.
"We also had a 24/7 water project that was in the pipeline earlier. If we come to power, we will implement it," he said.