The party higher ups have given green signal for the state unit to admit Sriramulu and merge his BSR Congress with the BJP. The merger formalities is expected to be completed within a week. Like the merger of former CM BS Yeddyurappa's KJP, even BSR Congress merger would be a low key affair.
Some BJP leaders at the Centre, particularly opposition leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, had opposed Sriramulu's entry. The allegations of illegal mining had made Sushma distance herself from the Bellary trio - G Karunakara Reddy, G Janardhan Reddy and Sriramulu.
The arrest of Janardhan Reddy and his close associates Anand Singh, B Nagendra and TH Suresh Babu by the CBI on charges of illegal mining and export of ore from Belikere port further complicated the issue of re-entry. However, the state leaders have succeeded in convincing their central leaders about the need for having Sriramulu as he himself has no case against him.
The BJP sees advantage in Sriramulu's home coming as the party feels that he has influence in Bellary, Koppal, Raichur, Gadag and Chitradurga districts. In the event of merger, Sriramulu belonging to Naik community (Scheduled Tribe) would be asked to contest from Bellary Lok Sabha constituency replacing his sister J Shantha.
"I have received an invitation from the BJP to join the party. I will announce my decision after holding consultation with my supporters and constituency people," Sriramulu said on Sunday in Bellary.
However, this LS polls won't be easy for Sriramulu. He will be facing Congress candidate NY Hanumanthappa. When Reddy brothers were at the peak of their dominance in 2009, Hanumanthappa had lost to Shantha by a little more than 2,000 votes. With change in guard in the state, Sriramulu has to slog it out in the coming polls. K Shivanagouda Naik may be preferred from Raichur in place of sitting MP Sanna Fakirappa.
The BJP party state election management committee is meeting on Monday to finalize candidates for the remaining 4-5 constituencies. Of the 28 segments, the BJP has finalized candidates for more than 20 segments. BJP troubleshooter Arun Jaitley would be in city on March 5 to strategize for the polls.