BALLARI: The spat between Congress leaders Jarkiholi brothers and D K Shivakumar seems to be far from over as they refuse to be seen together, but both remain important for the party for the Ballari Lok Sabha bypolls.
Just on Wednesday, the Jarkiholi brothers -- Ramesh and Satish -- refused to share the dais with Medical Education Minister Shivakumar at a rally in Kudligi.The continuing rift became apparent soon after Congress candidate V S Ugrappa filed his nomination papers last week and the party leaders went into a huddle to formulate bypoll strategies. The Jarkiholi brothers remained absent at the meeting citing work entrusted by the party. Sources said Shivakumar was at the helm of the meeting.
The peace brokered by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy between them might have saved the coalition government, but it has not brought about a solution for the Congress, with party workers saying that the Jarkiholi brothers do not want to be seen as being controlled by Shivakumar.
The biggest differences were observed when Shivakumar made a statement that he did not support the demand for separate religion tag for Lingayats and regretted the decision made by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. This was countered strongly by Ramesh Jarkiholi, who criticised Shivakumar by asking him to mind his business.
Party leaders, however, have sought to play down the rift between them. “Though there is bickering among the Jharkiholis and Shivakumar, it will not affect the elections, because their fight is at a personal level,” a source said.
Earlier, KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao also had said that differences between them are at a personal level and will be resolved within the party.
Even as the BJP is trying to take advantage, saying that the Congress is a divided house, political observers in the district are not sure whether it will have any impact on the elections. “First of all, the people of the district are not politically aggressive. These people are fed on the basis of money. They will not be deviated from what they have received earlier,” said T G Vittal, a political expert here.