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Reddy arrest jolts ruling BJP in Karnataka

Bangalore: Ruling BJP in Karnataka suffered a major jolt following the arrest of Bellary strongman G Janardhana Reddy, who became the second former minister in the state after Katta Subramanaya Naidu to cool his heels behind bars under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

The arrest of one of the powerful leaders of the ruling party by the CBI in connection with illegal mining and a local court in Andhra Pradesh remanding him to 14-day judicial custody, has brought severe embarrassment to BJP and given a new weapon to opposition parties.

The attempts by BJP to refurbish its sagging image in Karnataka, which has nose-dived in the wake of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa courting a slew of corruption charges, through new Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda has suffered a major setback in the backdrop of Reddy`s arrest.

Hours after Reddy was taken into custody and a court in Hyderabad remanded him to judicial custody, opposition Congress stepped up its attack on the BJP government and demanded a CBI probe into illegal mining.

However, the BJP leaders including Sadananda Gowda hit out at Congress for "misusing" CBI and slammed the Centre for the arrest of Reddy, describing it as a "political vendetta".

Reddy`s arrest and seizure of huge cash and jewellery from his Bellary residence has come as a severe jolt to the BJP, as it happened a day after former minister and mining baron B Sreeramulu resigned his Assembly membership protesting against denial of ministerial positions to himself and his close associates, the Reddy brothers.

According to some leaders in BJP in the state, they feel that Sreeramulu`s resignation and the arrest of Reddy could have impact on the stability of the first ever BJP government in Karnataka, but declined to elaborate.

The filing of cases against Janardhana Reddy by CBI on illegal mining has negated the claims by some saffron party leaders including Yeddyurappa and Reddy brothers that they were not involved in illegal mining, despite a Lokayukta report indicting them.

BJP is already struggling with corruption cases filed against its former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, his corporator son Jagadish, who are in judicial custody.

Yeddyurappa himself is facing cases booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act against him before the Lokayukta court.

In the midst of all these troubles, BJP has to gear up for the Koppa by-poll scheduled for September 26.

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