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Karnataka Assembly Elections: Mining Baron Gali Janardhana Reddy Wins Gangavati

Reddy defeated the Congress' Iqbal Ansari and the BJP's Paranna Munavalli, who was the sitting MLA and came third.

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Former Karnataka Minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy, who recently floated his own party called Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha (KRPP), won the Karnataka Assembly elections from Gangavati constituency.

He defeated the Congress candidate Iqbal Ansari by a margin of 8,266 votes. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Paranna Munavalli, who was the sitting MLA, came third.

The 56-year-old businessman was closely involved with the BJP for several years in the state, but in 2011, he had a fall from grace after his alleged involvement in an illegal mining and corruption case. He was arrested in 2011 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and has been on bail since 2015. However, the Supreme Court exiled him from his political stronghold Ballari.

Speaking to the media during a campaign trail recently, Janardhana Reddy had said he decided to contest from Gangavati constituency in Koppal district as he already had a rented home there.

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"I have suffered a lot in my life. Though I was born and brought up in Ballari, Gangavati gave me a new lease of life. The love and affection that the people have showered on me is enormous. I have mingled with the people in the land of paddy for the last four months and I will never forget the love they have shown me."
Gali Janardhana Reddy

However, it is only a moral victory for Gali Janardhan Reddy since his entire team has lost. The party contested in 47 constituencies of the 224 seats this time and managed to win only one. However, Reddy has had a significant influence in Hyderabad in three ways:

  • He added to the growing anti-BJP wave by holding a secular position against the BJP.

  • He made it clear that the BJP used him and got rid of him.

  • He also tried to spoil the chances of his brother in the BJP by fielding his wife, Aruna Laxmi, in the Ballari City seat.

Who Is Gali Janardhana Reddy?

Born in Ballari, Janardhana Reddy has come to be known as the shrewd half of Ballari's 'Reddy Brothers'. He and his two siblings – Gali Somasekhara Reddy and Gali Karunakara Reddy – were once the BJP's power centres.

Janardhan Reddy's rise to power began in the 1990s, when he established a mining company; over the years, he grew his business empire and became one of the wealthiest people in the state. 

In 2008, he made a foray into politics and was elected as a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council. He was appointed as the Minister for Tourism and Infrastructure in the BJP government led by BS Yediyurappa. He was later appointed as the Minister for Revenue, which gave him control over the state's mining industry.

But things changed for the worse for Janardhana Reddy when, in 2011, the Lokayukta, an anti-corruption watchdog in Karnataka, released a report on illegal mining in the state. The report named him and his brother Karunakara Reddy as the ringleaders of a mining mafia that had caused losses of over Rs 16,000 crore to the state exchequer.
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Janardhana Reddy was politically inactive for nearly 12 years since his arrest in 2011. As his ties with the BJP loosened, he launched the KRPP on 25 December 2022.

His wife Aruna Lakshmi, who contested as the KRPP's Ballari City candidate is set to lose. She was contesting against Janardhana Reddy's own brother and the ruling BJP's sitting MLA, Somashekhar Reddy.

The other major contestant in Ballari City was the Congress party's debutant candidate, Nara Bharath Reddy, the son of Suryanarayan Reddy, a prominent regional Congress leader who was earlier with the Janata Dal (Secular).

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