BSR Congress chief B Sriramulu’s induction into the BJP fold has not gone down well with senior party leader Sushma Swaraj, who expressed her opposition openly.
Bringing out the dissensions within the party over roping in leaders with a tainted past, Sushma wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter: “I want to make it absolutely clear that B Sriramulu has been admitted in the party despite my stiff opposition.” Sushma was opposed to the BSR Congress’ merger with the BJP as the party owed its existence to tainted mining barons – Reddy Brothers from Bellary. It is likely that that the BJP would offer its Bellary seat to Sriramulu.
Sriramulu was inducted into the party after BJP’s highest decision making body – the parliamentary board – on Thursday cleared his entry on the insistence of the party’s state unit. In fact, the meeting of the parliamentary board to discuss mergers was called on the insistence of Sushma, who had raised the issue on March 8 during the party’s Central Election meeting. The parliamentary board only cleared his entry, but not the merger of BSR Congress. Sriramulu had left the BJP in November 2011 to form his own party. He was considered a close aide of mining baron Janardhana Reddy, now in jail in Andhra Pradesh over an illegal mining case.
Sushma has articulated her opposition to Sriramulu’s re-entry or merger with the BSR Congress as her opponents – both within and outside the party – had targeted her linking her to the tainted Reddy brothers. Sushma had always distanced herself from any such association with the Reddy brothers. .
When reminded that he was opposed by Sushma whom he used to call ‘mother’, Sriramulu said, “We will continue to respect her as a mother.” Sources said Sriramulu wields influence over the Valmiki community in the state.