Karnataka rural development and panchayat raj minister Jagadish Shettar on Monday made a strong pitch for the re-inclusion of the Reddy brothers, G Janardhan and G Karunakara, in the state Cabinet.
Speaking to the media at Dharwad after the Independence Day celebrations, he said that the high command of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party should keep in mind the role the former ministers, the two Reddys and their close associate B Sriramulu, in helping the BJP to form its first government in southern India.
The three are widely alleged to be the kingpins of illegal and unethical iron ore mining in the ecologically fragile Bellary district of the state. They were excluded from the new D V Sadananda Gowda-led government after being indicted by the state lokayukta, the anti-corruption watchdog, recently.
''The BJP high command should never forget that it was only due to the collective efforts of the Reddy brothers that the BJP could enhance its strength in North Karnataka. Considering their efforts, the BJP high command should include the former ministers in the cabinet,'' the minister said.
When reminded that Reddys are indicted in Lokayukta report, Shettar said they are only named in the issue and the report will be considered by the judiciary. ''Unless their involvement in illegal mining is proved, keeping them away from state politics is unfair,'' he said.
The re-inclusion of the Reddy brothers in the state cabinet was earlier also supported by newly-inducted ministers Anand Asnotikar and Balachandra Jarkiholi.