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Congress tried to woo Reddy brothers: Sushma Swaraj


Bellary (Karnataka) : Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj Friday claimed that the Congress had tried in vain to woo the Reddy brothers — mining barons and Karnataka ministers.

“A person holding a constitutional position had made attempts to get the Reddy brothers to join Congress. Since they refused, the Congress is angry at them and making false allegations,” she said at a huge party rally in Bellary, the controversial mining barons’ political base, 320 kms from Bangalore.

“I would not like to mention the name here but will do so if Sonia (Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) desire it,” said Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, whom the Reddy brothers call as ‘thayi’ (mother).

She was all praise for the Reddy brothers for playing a major role in the formation of BJP’s first government in Karnataka and south India.

The brothers – Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy, his elder brother Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy, and the younger G. Somashekara Reddy, a legislator – are accused of large scale illegal iron ore mining in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into illegal mining, the main opposition party in the state, the Congress, has held a massive rally in Bellary Aug 9, after a 16-day ‘padayatra’ (march) to the iron-ore rich district from Bangalore.

The BJP held a series of rallies to counter the Congress. The Bellary show by BJP was the fourth and last in the series and followed similar events at Mysore in south Karnataka, Davangere in central part and Gulbarga in the north.

Sushma Swaraj congratulated Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for banning export and transport of iron ore for export from Karnataka.

“Why is the central government not doing so,” she asked and said: “We will wholeheartedly support a legislation if brought forward to ban ore export.”

Yeddyurappa, in his address, said he and other BJP leaders in the state will not rest until the Congress was rooted out of Karnataka.

“We will go to the people in every nook and corner of Karnataka. We will not rest till you (Congress) are rooted out of the state,” he thundered, fuming at what he called “below the belt” attacks on him by state Congress leaders during their march and the rally at Bellary.

Former BJP president and Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka M. Venkaiah Naidu, South Bangalore Lok Sabha member and general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar, state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa and Janardhana Reddy and his associate and Health Minister B. Sriramulu also addressed the rally.