Bellary (Karnataka): The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka Sunday
suffered a severe drubbing at the hands of party rebels, mining
barons Reddy brothers, in the Bellary Rural assembly seat bypoll
as their associate B. Sriramulu scored a massive win, officials
Sriramulu, former BJP minister who contested as an independent
after quitting the party, romped home with a huge majority of
around 46,000 votes over his nearest rival B. Ramprasad of
Congress, who he had beaten for the seat in the May 2008 assembly
elections that brought the BJP to power for the first time in
BJP's P. Gadilingappa was way behind with just 17,366 votes.
Sriramulu polled 74,527 votes to Ramprasad's 27,737, spokesperson
of the state election authorities told reporters at the end of
counting that began around 8 a.m. Sunday.
Around 120,000 out of over 171,000 eligible voters had cast their
ballots Nov 30 in the bypoll.
Thanking the people for electing him again, Sriramulu told
reporters here that "BJP has been taught a lesson for ditching
people who helped it to come to power".
With Sriramulu's victory, Reddy brothers' gamble in taking on BJP,
in spite of the most aggressive of them, Gali Janardhana Reddy,
being in Hyderabad jail in connection with illegal mining in
Andhra Pradesh, has paid off.
The Reddy brothers, Janardhana, Karunakara and Somashekara, sons
of a police constable in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, made Bellary,
the iron rich district 300 km north of Bangalore, their home and
consider it as their pocket borough.
The three brothers are still in BJP, though the party has
suspended Somashekara for campaigning for Sriramulu. Karunakara
and Somashekara are assembly members while Janardhana is in