BENGALURU: Sporting a big bindi and sindoor in the parting of her hairline, and clad in a silk saree, a smiling Sushma Swaraj, was a familiar figure in Bellary (now Ballari). Her connect with the town started in 1999 when she was fielded from there by the BJP against Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. But Sushma lost the battle. That didn’t stop her from visiting Bellary.
Sushma used to visit the town every year for the Varamahalakshmi festival. This continued for about 11 years. The festival would be celebrated in the house of B K Srinivas Murthy. And following the puja, they would then proceed to the mass marriage organized by her ‘adopted son’ Sriramulu of BJP where she would be the chief guest. Both these were an annual event.
She stopped visiting Ballari after 2011 when the iron ore scam allegations against Janardhana Reddy started surfacing.
She was seen as the mentor of brothers Karunakar, Janardhan and Somasekhar Reddy. But she made it clear several times that she had no role in their political careers and her interaction with them was limited to one day in the year--the Varamahalakshmi festival.
On Tuesday, Bellary and Sriramulu mourned the death of Sushma Thayi.Somashekara Reddy told the media that they would go to Delhi together for the funeral. Former PM Deve Gowda, KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao, KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre mourned the loss of Sushma Swaraj.