BELAGAVI: Acting quickly to douse the running feud between the all-powerful Jarkiholi brothers of Gokak and Belagavi Rural MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar, the state Congress leadership got the duo of Ramesh and Satish to give in to the latter over the election to the Primary Land Development Bank in Belagavi on Friday. But this is unlikely to put a lid on the episode as the Jarkiholis could spring a big surprise which may hit the coalition government at the “appropriate time”.
Sources close to the brothers revealed that they are ‘extremely upset’ over the latest political developments and Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi is keen to quit the party along with several other legislators. If the sources are to be believed, Ramesh is working out strategies to take 10 to 12 Congress MLAs along with him.
He has already held a meeting with them a few days ago when he came to know of the imminent defeat of his group in the PLD Bank election against Hebbalkar.
While Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy tried to play down the developments claiming that it will not have any impact on the coalition government, the developments in the Jarkiholi camp have ominous portends for the government.
Upset over state party leaders’ unconditional support to Hebbalkar at the behest of Minister D K Shivakumar in the PLD Bank’s issue, Ramesh Jarkiholi is said to have prepared firm ground to quit the party and ensure that his family continues to dominate Belagavi politics. Besides holding talks with all 12 MLAs, whose names are not known as yet, Ramesh is also in touch with several state BJP leaders including B S Yeddyurappa and B Sriramulu on a regular basis for the past few weeks, sources said.
Sriramulu made pointsman to reach out to Jarkiholis: Sources
According to sources in the BJP, Sriramulu, who belongs to the Valmiki Nayaka community as do the Jarkiholi brothers, has been made the pointsman to reach out to the Jarkiholis.
Most of Congress MLAs who joined Ramesh on his recent visit to the Ajmer dargah in Rajasthan, where they offered prayers, are said to be ready to quit the Congress along with him. A list of demands made by each of the 10-12 MLAs has been handed over to the BJP which the latter accepted to fulfil, a source said adding that most of the defected MLAs were likely to be inducted into the cabinet if BJP forms a government.
The Jarkiholi brothers are particularly angry that the Congress chose to ignore their contribution in the growth of the party in North Karnataka, particularly in Belagavi politics, when rallying behind the Hebbalkar group in the PLD Bank issue. They are also said to be peeved over Minister D K Shivakumar’s ‘interest’’ in Belagavi politics. “The Congress leaders at the top have continued to support Hebbalkar in the process of transfer of officials and other major issues in Belagavi district even though Ramesh Jarkiholi is the district in-charge minister. Ramesh wants to take a drastic decision before things turn from bad to worse for him in Belagavi,’’ a source added.
It’s all media hype: CM
Udupi: CM H D Kumaraswamy on Friday termed the speculation over the stability of his government in the wake of PLD Bank row as “media hype.” He said the tussle was Congress’ internal matter. “The government is stable. Even Jarkiholi brothers and Laxmi Hebbalkar have a cordial relationship,’’ he said. ‘’If I was tensed about it, I would not be touring Udupi. Nothing has happened in Belagavi that can create a problem to the government,’’ he said. ‘’Media may report whatever it wants to, but all of it is not factual,’’ he added.
The big brothers
Ever since they entered politics 2 decades ago, the Jarkiholi brothers have never tasted defeat in electoral politics owing to their strong links with leaders and organisations at the grassroots level in Belagavi. The brothers, have revolted, switched parties and took on several political heavyweights with impunity. Friday’s meek surrender to Hebbalkar camp may be more than meets the eye.