Belagavi delegation’s meeting with CM highlights simmering issue of Jarkiholis

Minister for Forest and Food and Civil Supplies Umesh Katti, during Karnataka Legislative Council sessions, at Vidhana Soudha, in Bengaluru. File

Minister for Forest and Food and Civil Supplies Umesh Katti, during Karnataka Legislative Council sessions, at Vidhana Soudha, in Bengaluru. File


A delegation of BJP leaders from Belagavi spent an hour with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in Bengaluru on January 28, again bringing to the fore simmering discontent in the party unit in the border district.

Leaders of the delegation -- Umesh Katti, Forest Minister, and Laxman Savadi, BJP state unit vice president -- maintained that they were meeting the Chief Minister on his birthday, and sought larger allocation for the district in the budget. But the grapevine in political circles is that the real purpose was complaining against the Jarkiholi brothers.

Party sources say that the first complaint was about the humiliating defeat of BJP nominee Mahantesh Kavatagimath, in the Council polls. Mr. Katti and Mr. Savadi told the Chief Minister that Ramesh and Balachandra Jarkiholi, who “foisted” their brother Lakhan as an independent candidate, were directly responsible for BJP’s loss.

The real reason that Mr. Katti led the delegation, party insiders in Belagavi say, is the fear that he would be dropped in the next Cabinet expansion. The Minister thinks that the party high command would favour the appointment of Mr. Ramesh Jarkiholi, or Mr. Balachandra Jarkiholi or their follower Mahesh Kumthalli, as a minister, in the vacancy created by Mr. Katti’s ouster.

The Lingayat factor also played out in the discussion, it is learnt. The leaders complained that Jarkiholis were trying to “take over” district politics and that Lingayats were losing out on important political postings in Belagavi. They also argued that the Jarkiholis had succeeded in getting a disproportionately large number of their followers appointed to boards and corporations. The Jarkiholi brothers had worked against followers of Mr. Savadi in local body polls in Athani, they alleged.

Mr. Bommai is learnt to have assured the delegates that he would talk to the Jarkiholis and try to resolve the matter. He has also instructed the leaders not to give any statement in public against each other, say sources.

Mr. Katti maintained that the meeting was not against anyone. “It was to introspect about the MLC polls and fixing responsibilities about the loss,’’ he said.

Co-operative sector politics

The tussle between the three influential families - Jarkiholi, Katti and Savadi -- is grounded in the local cooperative politics of Belagavi district and is more than a decade old.

The Jarkiholis, who was close to Mr. Savadi, parted ways after differences with him over the appointment of the District Central Co-operative Bank. They got together with the Katti brothers and ensured that a panel of their followers won.

Five years later, there are cracks between the Jarkiholis and Kattis. Ramesh Katti, DCC Bank president faced a no-confidence motion by five directors of the bank, who are said to be loyal to the Jarkiholi brothers.

Balachandra Jarkiholi, KMF chairman, announced the formation of a state level cooperative financial institution to be funded by KMF, which was seen as a competing entity to the Apex Bank, the supervisory agency to all the DCC banks in the districts. It has not taken off, as yet. “All these issues came up before the Chief Minister,’’ said a BJP leader.


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Printable version | May 16, 2022 6:39:59 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/belagavi-delegations-meeting-with-cm-highlights-simmering-issue-of-jarkiholis/article38343920.ece