Congress rift comes to fore during DK Shivakumar's Belagavi visit 

Including Jarkiholi and Hebbalkar, most MLAs and MLCs of the party stayed away from greeting Shivakumar during his visit to Belagavi.
Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar being felicitated by Congress workers in Hukkeri near Belagavi on Wednesday | Express
Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar being felicitated by Congress workers in Hukkeri near Belagavi on Wednesday | Express

BELAGAVI: The alleged meddling by top leaders of the Congress, including senior ministers, in the affairs of Belagavi district has irked PWD and Belagavi in-charge Minister Satish Jarkiholi who is seen as a prospective chief ministerial candidate supported by a large chunk of MLAs. 

According to sources close to Jarkiholi, the minister has already discussed the increasing meddling by Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and Women and Child Development Minister Laxmi Hebbalkar in the affairs of Belagavi, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. “The intervention of top party leaders in the process of transfer of officials and political affairs of Belagavi district has upset Jarkiholi for the past few months,’’ sources said.

An associate of Jarkiholi said the latter never intervened in the affairs of other districts, including those where Shivakumar and Hebbalkar were in-charge ministers. Then why should somebody intervene in the affairs of Belagavi? he said.

In the backdrop of all the politics unfolding in Belagavi, the absence of most legislators from the district to welcome Shivakumar was conspicuous on Wednesday. Including Jarkiholi and Hebbalkar, most MLAs and MLCs of the party stayed away from greeting Shivakumar during his visit to Belagavi.

To send a strong message to the party and his opponents, Jarkiholi is trying to get many of the party MLAs together with him in a show of strength. More MLAs in the party are expected to join him in his ongoing efforts to gain complete control over Belagavi politics, sources said.

Recently, many MLAs joined him when he had decided to herd them to Mysuru on the pretext of attending the Dasara festivities. However, his tour was suspended under pressure from the party leadership.

When asked about the development, Jarkiholi said there was nothing political about the tour and that he had intimated the CM and DyCM about the planned tour of MLAs to Mysuru. “We had to cancel the tour at the last moment as some legislators were busy in their constituencies,’’ he added. Jarkiholi also denied any groupism in the party and said all leaders are united.

‘No division in Cong’
During his visit to Belagavi on Wednesday, Shivakumar denied any rift in the party and said all the 136 MLAs of the Congress are together and united.
He blamed the BJP for spreading false narratives about the Congress and its leaders and clarified that he had no differences with Jarkiholi or other leaders.
 

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