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Karnataka Mining Baron Who Spent 3 years In Jail For Illegal Mining Returns To BJP

The BJP spokesperson conceded that the party has "made a compromise" by fielding him since it wanted to win the Bellary City seat.

The BJP’s second list of 82 candidates for the upcoming Karnataka elections includes the name of Gali Somashekhara Reddy.

G Somashekhara is the youngest of Reddy brothers, the mining barons from the ore-rich district of Bellary. He was a minister in the BS Yeddyurappa government before he was sacked over corruption charges involving illegal mining in 2011. He spent more than three years in jail in the same case and was released by the Supreme Court in Jan 2015, within a year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi assuming office, because the CBI had no objection to his release.

In 2016, he made headlines yet again. This time for spending outrageous amounts of money at his daughter’s wedding while the rest of the country was battling to overcome the severe cash crunch triggered by demonetization.

Reddy will contest the May 12 polls from Bellary City. Speaking to NDTV, state BJP spokesperson Vivek Reddy conceded that the party has “made a compromise” by fielding him since it wanted to win the Bellary City seat.

The Congress was quick to criticise Reddy’s candidature. The party’s spokesperson Randeep Surjewala posted a News Minute story with the following tweet: “Amit Shah’s prophecy of Yeddyurappa Govt being the ‘Most Corrupt’ ever in Karnataka is coming true—  Janardhan Reddy’s brother Somshekar Reddy gets BJP ticket! Krishnaiah Setty is also a BJP candidate, who was accused with BSY in land scam.”

But Vivek Reddy insisted the BJP had “avoided drafting” any candidate convicted of corruption. “Katta Subramanya Naidu and Krishnaiah Shetty were not given any seats in the last assembly elections because they were facing criminal charges. They have now been acquitted,” he told NDTV, referring to the party’s two senior leaders who will contest elections from Shivaji Nagar and Malur.

Karnataka goes to polls on May 12. The votes will be counted on May 15.

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