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Karnataka assembly witnessed intense Reddy-versus-Reddy clash over Ballari’s development

In a heated exchange during the Assembly session on Tuesday, Gangavathi MLA G Janardhan Reddy and Bellary City MLA Nara Bharath Reddy engaged in a verbal duel over the development of Ballari in North Karnataka. Janardhan, a mining baron leading the Kalyana Rajya Pragati Paksha, asserted that Ballari had witnessed no progress in the last 13 years.

In response, Bharath accused Bramhani Steels, linked to Janardhan, of acquiring 10,000-14,000 acres of farmers’ lands and alleged that the Ballari airport land was earmarked to benefit Janardhan’s friends and family. He vehemently criticized Janardhan, declaring him “unfit” for the Assembly, accusing him of looting Ballari, and challenging him to witness the development in the region now.

Janardhan defended himself, denying any land ownership near the Ballari airport and pointing out that all eight cases against him had been dismissed. The exchange escalated when Janardhan commented that Bharath “doesn’t have brains,” leading Bharath to pledge to expose Janardhan’s actions in the Assembly, accusing him of cheating the state and merging the border district with Andhra Pradesh.

Earlier in the day, Janardhan lamented the backwardness of Ballari, attributing it to the misrepresentation of his businesses and legal troubles. He highlighted the investments made by the BJP government in 2008, including funds for roads, a super-specialty hospital, land acquisition for an airport, and other infrastructure projects. Janardhan also emphasized his role in implementing a 6% forest development tax upheld by the Supreme Court, leading to the collection of Rs 24,000 crore over 13 years despite resistance from mine owners.

The dispute further intensified with Janardhan citing the incomplete state of the Ballari airport after four governments. Despite being barred from entering Ballari due to the illegal mining case, Janardhan contested the recent Assembly election from Gangavathi in Koppal.

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