BELAGAVI: Ramesh Jarkiholi, the demolition man, spearheaded Operation Lotus that lasted more than 14 months, and succeeded in toppling the coalition government along with 16 other rebels. While feeling proud of bringing the coalition government down, he attributes the collapse to the failed Congress party’s state leadership. As he begins a new innings with BJP, after winning five assembly elections in a row on a Congress ticket, Ramesh is confident of continuing his winning spree. In an interview with The New Sunday Express, Ramesh says there is no dissidence and that he is ready to accept any position in the government. Excerpts.
After winning 5 assembly elections on a Congress ticket, how different will be this election for you as a BJP leader?
People of Gokak are upbeat and they are going to rally behind me without bothering much about the party I am contesting from. For the development works I have
taken up in my constituency, I am sure of getting huge support from the voters again. About 75 per cent of Muslims too will support me. Just the way my brother Balachandra Jarkiholi (Arabhavi MLA from BJP) has been bagging the major chunk of votes in every election, I will also win with a huge
margin like him.
What will be your campaign strategy with your brother Lakhan as your rival?
My campaign is yet to take off. As I will file my nomination papers as a BJP candidate from Gokak on Monday, I am busy meeting people and my supporters to take their blessings before filing the papers.
Is there dissidence in the Gokak BJP unit as BJP leader Ashok Pujari also is keen to contest?
I met Ashok Pujari at his Gokak residence this evening along with top BJP leaders including Union Minister Suresh Angadi, All the leaders are persuading him to support me without giving scope for rebel activities. Pujari has assured them that he will not contest and will support me. And I don’t think any of the other BJP leaders will oppose my candidature as most of them have already expressed their desire to support me.
What will be your position in Yediyurappa government if you win the bypolls? Will you be the fourth DyCM?
The BJP leadership may have assured me plum positions in the government, but I would not like to comment on it. I am ready to accept any position, whether it is the DCM or any other post. I want the BJP leadership to treat me fairly in the government.
How do you think BJP will perform in this election?
I can’t tell you how many seats we will win. I always fought elections considering my rivals as equally powerful. Every candidate in the fray will have the potential to perform. I am sure BJP will perform well as most candidates are capable of winning.
Will you have BJP national leaders campaigning for you?
I am focusing on filing of nominations now. On Tuesday, I will plan the campaigns to be taken up and leaders to be invited to Gokak for the rallies.