Congress goes crowdfunding way to take on the Reddy brothers in their backyard

Dr Yogesh Babu is pitted against B Sreeramulu, the Bharatiya Janata Party MP and a close aide of the powerful Reddy brothers. Babu is depending on people’s support to take on their economic might

Photo courtesy: Twitter/<a href="">@<b>INCTelangana</b></a>
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@INCTelangana

NH Web Desk

The election campaign of Congress’ newcomer candidate for the reserved assembly seat of Molakalmuru, Dr Yogesh Babu, is being bankrolled through crowdfunding, Karnataka Congress announced on its Twitter handle on Monday.

Dr Yogesh Babu is pitted against B Sreeramulu, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian and a close aide of powerful Reddy brothers. Molakalmuru is one of the two seats that Sreeramulu would be contesting, the other being the historically significant constituency of Badami, where he is up against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

“Slapped with cases of bribery, attempt to murder, criminal intimidation, rioting amongst other criminal charges, the 'mining mafia' seeks an entry into Karnataka politics,” said an appeal from Congress Party, referring to Sreeramulu’s close association with G Janardhan Reddy. The appeal titled You decide: Dirty politics versus Clean politics has a link for supporters to contribute.

The Reddy brothers are accused of running an alleged illegal mining racket between 2008 and 2013, and accused of exporting iron ore, mainly extracted out of the Bellary region, worth ₹16,000 crore.

“On the other hand, we have a 33-year-old Ph.D. scholar, Dr Yogesh Babu willing to challenge the mafia,” Congress introduced its challenger.

The introduction went on, “A self-made man, Babu hails from Molakalmuru where he actively took part in grass-roots politics and is deeply admired by his people for his sincerity and clean politics.”

Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha told National Herald that the party hoped to unleash a new political culture in India. “The very fact that they are putting up a candidate, who is so closely associated with the Reddy brothers, diametrically opposite in credentials to Mr Babu shows that the BJP is unconcerned about anything,” said Jha.

He added that Congress would carry out similar crowdfunding exercises in the upcoming state elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, and also in the general elections next year. Jha said, “We believe that that the time has come to more political funding more transparent.”

At the time of publishing this report, Dr Babu had raised ₹1.83 lakh out of the set target, which was ₹28 lakh. The crowdfunding campaign would run out in four days.

All the 224 constituencies of Karnataka will go to polls on May 12 in a single-phase election, with the results slated to be announced on May 15.

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Published: 07 May 2018, 7:46 PM