Karnataka turmoil: two trust votes in 10 days

Karnataka political crisis had its genesis in Belagavi

Laxmi Hebbalkar

Laxmi Hebbalkar  

‘Ramesh Jarkiholi, once seen as the face of dissenters, now sidelined by BJP’

When Laxmi Hebbalkar sat on a dharna outside the tahsildar’s office here in August 2018, few could have guessed that the issue could over time gather momentum and snowball into a major political crisis.

Ms. Hebbalkar wanted her followers to win the elections to Belagavi Taluk Primary, Cooperative, Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (earlier called Primary Land Development Bank) and feared that the Jarkiholi brothers had sabotaged the polls. She accused then district in-charge Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and his brothers of trying to manipulate the polls as their followers were not in a position to win the elections. Mr. Jarkiholi, in turn, accused Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar of interfering in the affairs of the district through his protégé, Ms. Hebbalkar.

Ramesh Jarkiholi

Ramesh Jarkiholi  

As allegations and counter-allegations grew, KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre had to intervene. Though there appeared to be some truce, Mr. Ramesh Jarkiholi was not fully convinced of the reduced influence of Mr. Shivakumar, and the disharmony continued to fester. It ended in Mr. Jarkiholi becoming the second Congress MLA to resign, after B.S. Anand Singh (Vijayanagar). This seemed to open the floodgates for a slew of resignations. He even claimed that he had copies of the resignations of 25 other MLAs. Subsequently, a total of 15 MLAs of the Congress-JD(S) combine quit.

Some leaders in Belagavi Congress feel that the BJP used Mr. Jarkiholi as a “point man” for all dissidents only to abandon him later. “They made him the face of dissenters. BJP leaders created an impression that all the alliance MLAs who were upset with their parties could go to Mr. Jarkiholi who would then lead them to the BJP. But once they had the critical mass of resignations, the attention was diverted away from Mr. Jarkiholi. Now, the faces you see from among the disgruntled MLAs are those of A.H. Vishwanath, S.T. Somashekar or Byrathi Basavaraj. Mr. Jarkiholi is relegated to the background,” said a district Congress office-bearer.

Rajya Sabha member Prabhakar Kore had said at a party meeting earlier this year that Belagavi leaders had brought down governments in the past and would do so now. However, BJP leaders from Belagavi refrained from associating themselves from the resignations that preceded the ongoing Assembly session.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 4:10:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-political-crisis-had-its-genesis-in-belagavi/article28622460.ece

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