BELAGAVI: Breaking his silence over his resignation, Excise Minister Satish Jarkiholi said he had been sidelined and was badly hurt by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
In an exclusive interview with Express, he said Siddaramaiah had recently visited Gokak and Chikkodi, cities in his charge, but hadn’t bothered to ask why he hadn’t met him.
“He has been neglecting me for a long time. Recently, when a tiger mauled a woman in Khanapur, he asked Chikkodi MP Prakash Hukkeri to visit the aggrieved family. Hukkeri went and posed as if he were the district minister,” Jarkiholi said.
Siddaramaiah hadn’t informed him about his visit to Gokak last Sunday. “He didn’t even ask why I couldn’t go and see him,” he said.
Jarkiholi explained he hadn’t asked anyone to lobby on his behalf. “They (Belagavi MLAs and DCC president Laxmi Hebbalkar) went on their own,” he said, reiterating that, irrespective of the outcome of their efforts, he would not withdraw his resignation
He said Mallikarjun Kharge had spoken to him over the phone. “I explained to him what prompted me to do this,” Jarkiholi said, refusing to give any more details.
Besides Kharge, a few ministers also spoke to him and urged him to reverse his decision.
“I got several calls from party legislators who appreciated my decision to quit. They said I had done the right thing,” the minister said. He said he hadn’t got any call from the high command. However, the KPCC office had contacted him and asked him to attend a meeting of ministers with Digvijay Singh, AICC general secretary in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka. This and another meeting of party MLAs from Belagavi, Bagalkot and Vijayapura districts are scheduled for Friday. “I am not going to attend those meetings,” Jarkiholi said, deepening the crisis.