Bellary (Karnataka), Dec 4: Counting of votes polled Nov 30 in the bypoll to Bellary rural assembly seat, where mining barons Reddy brothers have propped up their associate against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party while being its members, began here Sunday morning.
Over 71 percent of the around 171,000 eligible voters had cast their ballot and counting will be done in 18 rounds, according to A. A. Biswas, deputy commissioner of Bellary, the iron ore rich district about 300kms north of Bangalore.
By noon it will be known whether the 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 of.
The brothers have fielded their associate and former minister B. Sriramulu as independent candidate in the bypoll after making him resign from the BJP and the assembly. Sriramulu had won the seat in May 2008 assembly elections that brought BJP to power in Karnataka for the first time.
The BJP has nominated Bellary businessman P. Gadilingappa, who is contesting for the assembly for the first time.
The Congress candidate is B. Ramprasad who had lost Sriramulu in 2008.
The Reddy brothers, Janardhana, Karunakara and Somashekara, sons of a police constable in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, made Bellary their home and joined BJP in 1999. They consider the district 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 legislative council.