BANGALORE: Tourism minister G Janardhan Reddy’s clout with Andhra Pradesh Congress members seems to have waned. The Congress high command’s directive to its party government in Andhra to seek a probe into mining irregularities by the Reddys-owned Obulapuram Mining Company in Anantapur district might. But the move has come as a big boost to beleaguered Karnataka CM B S Yeddyurappa, bigger than the one he got from his central leadership of allowing him to continue in the post during the recent crisis.
For the time being, the announcement, prompted by former Andhra CM and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu’s campaign for a probe, halted camps in ruling parties of both Karnataka and Andhra from indulging in any political machinations. While Yeddyurappa may have the Reddys off his back for a while, Andhra CM K Rosaiah gets a break from Jaganmohan Reddy ’s supporters. It seems to be a warning to those harbouring a desire to see late Y Rajasekhara Reddy’s son Y Jaganmohan Reddy in the CM’s post.
While an upset Janardhan Reddy described Naidu as "politically unemployed" for raking up the issue when all probe panels instituted by Y S Rajasekhara Reddy gave a clean chit to OMC dealings. "Many people are unable to digest the fact that I am the leading iron ore producer among private players in the country. This is the reason for TDP raising the issue," he said.
The inquiry might slow down the pace of the Reddy brothers, who virtually run a parallel government here. The only time Yeddyurappa came close to getting at the Reddys was seeking a joint survey from the Centre over the boundary dispute between Karnataka and Andhra at Obulapuram.
Hamstrung with problems of handling his detractors in the cabinet, the CM did not explore possibilities of taking on the Reddys on the mining front, but for transferring top officials in Bellary district. His feeble attempts were confined to shifting officials in districts managed by G Karunakar Reddy and B Sriramulu. All these transfers were reversed in the peace pact between Yeddyurappa and the Reddys.
The CBI probe will also deter some Congress leaders in Karnataka of hobnobbing with the Reddys. During the crisis, when there were signs of the Congress high command shifting from its neutral stand, some leaders got in touch with the Reddys on the numbers game.