BELAGAVI: A huge number of votes which BJP candidate Mangala Angadi polled from Gokak assembly segment, a Jarkiholi brothers citadel, were crucial in her victory against Satish Jarkiholi of the Congress in Belagavi Lok Sabha bypoll.
Contrary to the claims made by Jarkiholi brothers that the voters of Gokak always rallied behind Jarkiholis in all the elections, whether it is to Lok Sabha or the state assembly, a large chunk of 87,307 people from Gokak assembly segment voted for Mangala Angadi against 59398 of Satish Jarkiholi.
The abrupt change of stance of the people of Gokak who voted Ramesh Jarkiholi as MLA six times in a row, has surprised many in the state.
In the eight assembly segments which Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency covers, Mangala polled the highest number of votes in Gokak followed by 56,909 in Ramdurg assembly segment.
In the run up to Belagavi bypoll, the Congress leadership in the state was extremely confident that the voters of Gokak and Arabhavi assembly constituencies which are represented by Ramesh Jarkiholi and Balachandra Jarkiholi will rally behind Satish Jarkiholi.
On many occasions, the party leaders, especially Satish Jarkiholi, had admitted that the voters of Gokak always remained loyal to his family in both the constituencies ever since the brothers entered electoral politics two decades ago.
However, Satish Jarkiholi was able to get 71,700 votes in Arabhavi, higher than Mangala's Angadi's 55,957 but a majority of voters in Gokak dumped him.
According to an associate of Jarkiholis, Ramesh Jarkiholi was under pressure from the BJP leadership to ensure that a majority of his voters supported the party in the LS bypoll.
Already caught in the CD gate scandal, Ramesh Jarkiholi is said to have ensured that the BJP got a big share of votes from Gokak to avoid the ruling dispensation from further creating legal problems for him in the CD case, he said.
Ramesh Jarkiholi won the last six assembly polls in a row from Gokak while Balachandra Jarkiholi won the last five assembly elections consecutively with comfortable margins all the times, he said, adding that it had been a rare case that the voters in Gokak or Arabhavi did not support member of the Jarkiholi family but voted against him in an important election in the last two decades.
Quite aware of the ability of Jarkiholis in Gokak to turn the tables in elections, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa held two mega road-shows ahead of the bypoll in Gokak and Arabhavi in an attempt to get Ramesh and Balachandra to support the party against their brother Satish.
Although a Covid-infected Ramesh did not attend the party campaign, Balachandra joined hands with Yediyurappa to bolster the party's position in Gokak and Arabhavi.
Senior BJP leader Jagadish Shettar who headed the party campaign in Belagavi bypoll also played a key role in party's victory.
Also the father-in-law of Mangala Angadi's daughter Spoorti Shettar toured all the eight assembly segments to bolster the party's position in the bypoll.
His close association with Ramesh Jarkiholi and Balachandra Jarkiholi also came in handy for the party at the crucial juncture.
After the BJP's victory yesterday, Shettar said, the people of Belagavi trusted the leadership of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and decided to vote for the former Union Minister of State for Railways late Suresh Angadi's family.