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Reddy Brothers say they won’t resign over allegations

New Delhi: Days after the Karnataka assembly witnessed four-day-long sit-in protest by the Opposition over the alleged illegal mining of iron ore, the Bharatiya Janata Party top leadership has summoned the G Janardhan Reddy and G Karuanakar Reddy to Delhi, raising speculation that the party might ask them to quit their ministerial berths.

G Janardhan Reddy and G Karuanakar Reddy on Sunday met senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, considered close to them, and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa who is under mounting pressure to sack them.

The meeting assumes significance considering the fact that BJP government has been under pressure to act against the mining barons.

However, Janardhan Reddy has rubbished all speculations regarding their possible resignation. G Janardhana Reddy is Tourism Minister while his brother G Karunakara Reddy is Revenue Minister in Karnataka government.

He said that the party was united on the issue and that there was no reason for them to resign.

“We are united. It was courtesy call. No one has summoned us. We have already met all top leaders and explained them our stand. If the opposition party proves the charges we will resign. Why should we resign on just allegations?” said Reddy.

He has also threatened to hold a pad yatra (march) from Bellari to Mysore to counter the Congress’ similar yatra.

The meeting between the Reddy brothers and the Chief Minister at the Karnataka Bhawan in New Delhi came a day after Yeddyurappa held a series of meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram, senior BJP leaders L K Advani and Nitin Gadkari.

The BJP leadership is caught in the horns of dilemma of saving its government in Karnataka and at the same time ensuring that its image, in the face of the charges made against the Reddy brothers is not sullied.

Senior BJP leader L K Advani has asked the Karnataka party unit to make all efforts to save its first government in the South in case the party has to act against Tourism Minister G Janardhan Reddy and Revenue Minister G Karunakar Reddy in the wake of stepped up opposition to their continuance in government.

Sources said Swaraj may indicate to the Reddy brothers that it would be better for them to resign on their own and await the report of the Lokayukta on the issue of illegal mining.

They may come back to the ministry if they come out unscathed on the issue, sources said. But there was no official word from the party on any such move yet.

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