After public opposition by senior leader Sushma Swaraj, BJP today decided against merging BSR Congress with it even as the nomination of the party leader B Sreeramalu for the Bellary Lok Sabha seat was approved.
The BJP Parliamentary Board discussed the issue at length and disfavoured the merger of BSR Congress, sources said. Sreeramulu is a close confidante of the Reddy brothers who had to quit BJP after their arrest in the mining scam.
At the same time, BJP decided to field Sreeramulu from Bellary in Karnataka. BJP’s Karnataka unit president Prahlad Joshi said the “Parliamentary Board has decided to field Sreeramulu to contest from the Bellary Lok Sabha seat on a BJP ticket.”
Sreeramulu said that he has been conveyed by the BJP leadership about his ticket and said his party was ready for a merger. BSR Congress has been keen on merging with BJP but Swaraj had last week publicly stated her opposition to the entry of Sreeramalu and Reddy brothers into the party-fold.
She had also written to party chief Rajnath Singh, saying such ‘tainted’ leaders should not be allowed to be associated with the party.
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“BJP Parliamentary Board has decided against the merger of BSR Congress. But it has allowed some of its leaders to join the BJP-fold. However, each leader’s credentials will be screened and only such people will be allowed to join the party who are not tainted, have no cases and have a good public image,” a senior BJP leader said.
BJP is ready to give some more seats to leaders coming from BSR Congress. Former Karnataka Chief Minister B.S Yeddyurappa, who recently returned to the party fold after he had to quit the post in the wake of corruption charges, is likely to bag a ticket for his confidante G.S Basavaraj from Tumkur seat. Basavaraj is the sitting MP from Tumkur.