Former Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa took strong exception to tainted mining baron and former ministerial colleague Gali Janardhana Reddy’s statement about the death of ex-CM Siddaramaiah’s son Rakesh.
Following the statement, Yeddyurappa had on Wednesday, 31 October, asked Janardhana Reddy to apologise for his unsavoury remarks.
Reacting to the statement, Yeddyurappa told reporters, “What Reddy said is unacceptable and no one should make such personal comments against political opponents. Reddy should apologise to Siddaramaiah.”
Janardhana Reddy was criticised by leaders across political lines for this statement, including by BJP’s R Ashoka.
In an interview with a TV news channel on Tuesday, the mining baron said, “He made me languish in jail for four-and-a-half years, keeping me away from my family and children. This is the reason why god punished him (Siddaramaiah) by taking away his son.”
Rakesh, Siddaramaiah’s eldest son, died in Belgium in July 2016 after a multi-organ failure. He was suffering from pancreatic ailment and was admitted in the Antwerp University Hospital in Brussel.
“I Was Emotional, Did Not Intend to Hurt Siddaramaiah”
Later on Wednesday, Janaradhana Reddy speaking to another TV channel, said, “I did not intend to hurt Siddaramaiah, I was emotional when I spoke. I regret whatever said about Siddaramaiah and I apologise if I have hurt him.”
Commenting on the issue, Siddaramaiah called Reddy “uncultured” and said, “Forgiveness is a quality of a human being. But a man with a criminal brain has no culture. Criticising political opponents is okay in politics, but not the family.”
Later on social media, Siddaramaiah said, “Reddy has said that my son’s death is a punishment given to me by god. I pray to god to not punish your [Reddy’s] children for your sins.”
Janardhana Reddy is again in the limelight as his protege B Sriramulu’s sister Shanta has been pitted against the Congress’s Ugurappa in the November 3 Ballari Lok Sabha by-polls.
Although Reddy is banned from entering the mining heartland as per court orders, political observers say he is remotely organising party workers from his residence in Molkamuru in neighbouring Chitradurga district even though the BJP publicly disowns him.
(This story was first published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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