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Rediff.com  » News » Images: 16 days later, Congress leaders on Reddys' turf

Images: 16 days later, Congress leaders on Reddys' turf

Last updated on: August 9, 2010 21:03 IST

Bellary crowds for Congress rally

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After treading 300 km for 16 days, Karnataka's Congress leaders were a tired but a determined lot as they reached the land of high controversy, power and pelf -- Bellary. 

The exhausting padyatra undertaken by the Congress leaders may have paid off on Monday as almost the whole town, perhaps except the rival Reddys, walked out of their houses to see the brigade of leaders, including Union ministers from the state.

The state police said at least 15,000 people from the mining district had assembled at the rally.

The Congress' desperation to win people's hearts in Bellary is understandable -- the party has been losing to the Bharatiya Janata Party for nine years in a row. This is the first time that the Congress has undertaken a large-scale campaign in Bellary in the last 10 years.

Reportage: Vicky Nanjappa; Images: Jagadish Kurugodu


Image: Congress leaders march through Bellary roads on Monday

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Congress leaders reach Reddy's turf

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"We have accepted and won the challenge," the Congress leaders said on reaching Bellary on Monday. The Reddy brothers had earlier dared the Congress leaders to step into their home turf.

The Congress wore a picture of unity with Union ministers S M Krishna, Mallikarjuna Kharge, Veerappa Moily, Ghulam Nabi Azad and K H Muniyappa joining the state leaders who reached Bellary on Monday afternoon.

All the leaders of the Congress were unanimous in their demand. They said that the investigation into the illegal mining scam must be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The padyatra was aimed at highlighting the misdoings of the BJP government in Karnataka, they said.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad reminded Bellary citizens that the central government was not weak and it would act on the illegal mining case.

It is high time that the state government in Karnataka too acted and took action against those guilty, he said.

Image: Bellary streets were deserted on Monday

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Congress leaders on Reddys' turf

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Siddaramaiah, the opposition leader from the state was the crowd favourite. While demanding a CBI probe into illegal mining, he challenged the Reddys to come clean in regard to their involvement in the case.

"How did you (Reddys) earn so much money in the past six years? Let us compare what you earned in 2004 and what you earn now. Make your income tax filings public and let us see what you have to say to the public. If you call yourself as a representative of the public then tell the public what you own and what you earn," Siddaramaiah told the Reddy brothers.

The Congress leaders said the padyatra was not the end of their fight.

"We have slept in the assembly and then we took out this yatra. Our fight does not stop here and will end only once a CBI probe is instituted into this multi crore scam," the leaders told the assembly.

They also felt that the only way to save the state was by changing the state government, which has failed the people miserably.

Image: The Congress rally at Bellary

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Congress leaders on Reddys' turf

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Siddaramaiah, the opposition leader from the state was the crowd favourite. While demanding a CBI probe into illegal mining, he challenged the Reddys to come clean in regard to their involvement in the case.

"How did you (Reddys) earn so much money in the past six years? Let us compare what you earned in 2004 and what you earn now. Make your income tax filings public and let us see what you have to say to the public. If you call yourself as a representative of the public then tell the public what you own and what you earn," Siddaramaiah told the Reddy brothers.

The Congress leaders said the padyatra was not the end of their fight.

"We have slept in the assembly and then we took out this yatra. Our fight does not stop here and will end only once a CBI probe is instituted into this multi crore scam," the leaders told the assembly.

They also felt that the only way to save the state was by changing the state government, which has failed the people miserably.

Image: The Congress rally at Bellary

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Congress leaders on Reddy's turf

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While Congress supporters dominated the Reddys' home turf on Monday, the brothers were away on their own yatra to proclaim their innocence.

The Reddys had earlier said that they would not obstruct anybody from entering their turf in the spirit of democracy. However, they have challenged the Congress to win a single seat from Bellary.

The Reddy brothers have, meanwhile, decided to conduct a yagna or a purification ritutal to counter the Congress rally on Tuesday.

Soon after the Congress wound up the rally, the brothers announced that the yagna would be held as the Congress workers had polluted the town.


Image: Bellary residents at the Congress rally

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