BELAGAVI: While the top BJP leadership and Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa continue to keep party aspirants to the cabinet on tenterhooks about the upcoming reshuffle, a group of legislators headed by Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi is exerting pressure on the BJP high command for inclusion of at least three leaders from the Jarkiholi group into the cabinet.What Jarkiholi insisted before BJP national president J P Nadda is the inclusion of MLC C P Yogeshwar as Deputy Chief Minister. Sources said that Jarkiholi and Yogeshwar met Nadda in New Delhi two days ago, mainly to clarify the advantages the BJP will reap if Yogeshwar is elevated to the top post.
Jarkiholi’s group has not conveyed to the party directly on who Yogeshwar should replace as DyCM, but it is said that the target is Laxman Savadi, Jarkiholi’s political bete noir in Belagavi politics. Both of them have been at loggerheads politically in some locally crucial elections, including the DCC Bank polls.
Sources close to Jarkiholi said both the minister and Yogeshwar are not on good terms with KPCC president D K Shivakumar. It was to promote Yogeshwar as another potential leader in Shivakumar’s Vokkaliga turf, that Jarkiholi joined the actor-turned-politician in Delhi to meet Nadda and push his case.Yogeshwar is also keen to find a crucial break in Vokkaliga turf to revive his fading political career.
However, the BJP is unlikely to remove Savadi to accommodate Yogeshwar, but may promote Yogeshwar to tackle Shivakumar politically, sources said. Jarkiholi had demanded the position of DyCM before he switched to the BJP along with his disgruntled MLAs, but settled for the high-stakes Water Resources portfolio. If sources are to be believed, Jarkiholi wants the BJP leadership to induct MLCs AH Vishwanath and MTB Nagaraj into the cabinet, and is lobbying for them strongly in New Delhi.
The party and Yediyurappa are expected to drop some ministers in order to accommodate Jarkiholi’s associates.With BJP caught badly in internal politics in the state, sources said it remains to be seen how Yediyurappa will tackle the situation to make way for a smooth cabinet reshuffle.