BELAGAVI: Undoubtedly, the bypoll to the Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency will be a high-voltage contest, even though a seasoned politician like Satish Jarkiholi of Congress is crossing swords with a political debutant, Mangala Angadi, wife of former Union Minister of State for Railways late Suresh Angadi.A master strategist in Congress who has been playing a key role time and again in forming state governments over the past few years, Satish has carved a niche for himself in state politics.
After entering politics as a director of Belagavi District Central Cooperative in 1992, he has won two Council and three Assembly polls, on his way to become secretary of the All-India Congress Committee last year.
Despite having different political affiliations, all five Jarkiholi brothers of Gokak are believed to have a strong yet secret bond between them which has helped political parties to depend on them to garner numbers while forming a government.“I have faced many elections in my life and that will certainly come in handy for me this bypoll. The people have elected me five times as a legislator for the development works I have taken up. I am confident that people will continue to support me in the coming bypoll,’’ he said.
Congress spokesperson Laxmi Hebbalkar said Satish is in a different political league and enjoys massive support from people of all castes. “I am sure every party worker will work for him for his victory this time,” she added.He enjoys mass support in several parts of the constituency, including the two Assembly segments of Arabhavi and Gokak, represented by his brothers — Balachandra and Ramesh. He also has the backing of the cooperative sector, and several of his sympathisers are in power in many local bodies.
Of the eight Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituency, Belagavi Rural and Bailhongal are held by Laxmi Hebbalkar and Mahantesh Koujalgi of Congress, while Belagavi-North, Belagavi-South, Ramdurg, Saundatti, Gokak and Arabhavi are represented by BJP.