People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 21

June 08 , 2008


Reddy Money Behind BJP's  Karnataka Win

Sowmya Aji

AS Karnataka prepares for its first BJP government, the state is slowly becoming aware of its new power centre - G Janardhan Reddy, the brain and the funds behind the party's victory, and his brothers.

It is not ideology, caste or region that has brought the BJP to power in Karnataka. All political parties in the state admit that the real reason is the “Reddy effect”. Three sons of a police constable and their side-kick, a man accused of multiple murders, turned around the BJP's fortunes. While the face of the BJP is its CM candidate, B S Yeddyurappa, it is Bellary minelord Janardhan Reddy who will control the state. The Reddy brothers - Janardhan, elder brother Karunakar, the Bellary MP who has now become an MLA, and Somashekhar, Bellary MLA - are reported to have spent about Rs 1,000 crore to take the BJP to the 110 mark in the state. The amount is said to have been spent across about 14 districts, including Bangalore city, where the BJP won 17 of the 28 seats. Besides this, the reported figure of Rs 50 crore per independent supporting the BJP government is the responsibility of the Reddys and their family friend, former minister B Sriramulu.

BJP workers and the Reddy brothers maintain that money was not a factor at all. “People looked at the kind of policies that our CM candidate, Yeddyurappa, has proposed. That is why they have voted for the BJP,” Janardhan Reddy told Mail Today. But BJP leaders admit in private that many of them would not have won if the Reddys had not opened their purse. Naturally, this has brought about loyalty to the Reddys from candidates across the state. A BJP leader said all the three Reddys and Sriramulu would be “rewarded” with powerful cabinet berths. The vast Reddy wealth was evident in constituencies such as Bellary city and Harapanahalli, where Somashekar and Karunakar contested. Scores of voters reported the distribution of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes along with BJP pamphlets in these constituencies. Janardhan Reddy said, “We have no need to spend money during elections. We have given money in lakhs for several years to whoever asked us. We have paid people's electricity bills, hospital bills, school and college bills, handed out mangalsutras and done everything to help the people.” The result of this long- term largesse is that the loyalty of the electorate had been secured.

Janardhan Reddy denied all the allegations. “These elections have been extremely difficult because the Deve Gowda family spent so much money across the state. Also, the Congress is chock-full of mine owners; we are just newcomers to all this,” he said. Still, it is obvious even to the common man that the control of the state government is now in the hands of the Reddys.  

(Courtesy: Mail Today; May 29, 2008)