Recount win will better BSR chances

Recounting of votes in the Bellary Lok Sabha constituency on Saturday is not likely to impact the numbers game of the two national political parties – Congress and BJP – in the Lok Sabha. But it is crucial for the newly formed BSR Party, launched by former minister B. Sreeramulu, who is planning major gains during the next assembly elections.

Ms J. Shantha, though elected from the BJP from the constituency, has identified herself with her brother’s BSR Party. Proving that she has won the election fair and square against Congress candidate and former Chief Justice of Orissa HC N.Y. Hanumanthappa in the May 2009 election is vital for her to give a boost to Mr Sreeramulu. Ms Shantha went with Mr Sreeramulu and her mentor Gali Janardhana Reddy, now in jail for alleged illegal mining, after they severed decade-long ties with the BJP last year to launch the Badavara, Shramikara, Raithara (BSR) Party.

A BSR party leader said: “The result of recounting will have a big impact on our party’s fate. If Ms Shantha loses, it will be a big blow to our prospects in the assembly polls as it will kill the spirit of party workers. If she wins, it will be a big boost as party men have been suffering because of a series of arrests in the Reddy family.” Ms Shantha sounded confident on Friday. “I’ll win again. How can I lose when the blessings of constituency people are with me?”

Justice Hanumanthappa, who lost the election by a margin of 2,243 votes, said, “Majority of the people were with me during the election and I polled the highest number of votes, but the result was manipulated in the last two minutes. I’m confident that justice will be done.” Congress workers are not too worried about the result, while the BJP will neither gain nor lose with Ms Shantha’s victory as she has already identified herself with BSR Party. In the last one year, Mr Reddy’s close circle has suffered setbacks with the arrest of several top associates, who ran the “Republic of Bellary”. The cash for bail scam, plotted to ensure bail for Mr Reddy, has landed his elder brother and Bellary city MLA Gali Somashekhar Reddy and Mr Sreeramulu’s 29-year-old nephew and MLA T.H. Suresh Babu in jail. The bail scandal is threatening to ensnare Mr Sreeramulu.

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