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Ramesh Jarkiholi vows to defeat Lakshmi Hebbalkar in Belagavi

BJP MLA from Gokak claims that he has not spent any money in the six elections that he has fought successfully till now

January 20, 2023 09:52 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 09:50 am IST - Belagavi

Ramesh Jarkiholi

Ramesh Jarkiholi | Photo Credit: File Photo

BJP MLA and former Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi targeted Congress MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar at a rally organised by his supporters in Sulebavi village in Belagavi Rural constituency on Friday. The Ramesh Jarkiholi Sahukar Fans Association organised the programme.

“It is true that I am responsible for the victory of the Congress legislator here. But our aim this time is to defeat her,’‘ he said, without naming his one-time protege-turned-political opponent. “This legislator is a very bad element in society. She has to be defeated come what may,” he said.

“I see that she is distributing gifts to her voters in the constituency. Till now, she must have given kitchen appliances such as cooker and mixer, worth around ₹1,000. She might give another set of gifts. All that together may cost around ₹3,000. I urge you not to vote for our candidate if we don’t give you ₹6,000,” he said.

He, however, said that he has not spent any money in the six elections that he has fought successfully till now. “My supporters campaign for me by spending their own money. I don’t give them any money,” he said.

“If the local MLA is spending money, let us also do the same. Let us spend ₹10 crore more than what she spends,’‘ he said.

He said that he and his supporters worked hard to ensure the election of Ms. Hebbalkar in the last Assembly elections. “Then, we were all in the Congress and we worked to ensure her victory as she was the Congress candidate. All the zilla panchayat members who are loyal to me worked tirelessly for her. We thought that she will be a good candidate and will work for the people of this constituency. But that was not to be. She not only became disloyal to us and started behaving arrogantly towards us and our supporters but also amassed ill-gotten wealth and failed to develop the constituency. This time, we have to decided to defeat her, at any cost,” he said.

“It is good that I resigned from my Ministership as I could see her real face only then. Just as I lost power, she changed completely. She began acting very arrogantly towards me and everybody else. She thought that I will be confined to my home and that I will quit politics. I am not one of those who is deterred by temporary setbacks, nor is my family. The Jarkiholi brothers have always won over obstacles and succeeded despite the several conspiracies by our opponents,” he said.

Some people may be wondering why I did not invite senior BJP leaders to this event. That is because over 70% of the participants here are from non-BJP parties. On the stage are former zilla panchayat members from the Congress and the BJP. “But this time, all our supporters and friends will work for the BJP candidate in the rural constituency,” he said.

He said that the Jarkiholi brothers made some mistakes in the Legislative Council polls where the BJP lost a seat. “That was the result of some internal problems in the party. But that will not happen again,” he said.

“I am not worried about the delay in becoming a Minister. Only my opponents are worried about it. I assure you that I will campaign in all 18 constituencies in the district and increase the BJP tally to 14 from the 13 now,” he said.

Lakshmi Hebbalkar hits back

Hitting back on Saturday, Ms. Hebbalkar denied distributing gifts to her voters. Kitchen utensils were prizes distributed to women who had won various competitions organised by The Lakshmi Tayi Foundation, she said. “If they were political gifts, I should have been distributing them equally among men and women,” she said.

She said that Mr. Jarkiholi had the habit of speaking lightly of women. “It seems to be his habit. It is very sad and unfortunate,” she said.

She further urged the Election Commission to act against Mr. Jarkiholi. “He has openly announced that he will give gifts worth ₹6,000 to each voter. He has said he will spend more money than his adversaries. We will see what action the Election Commission of India takes against such claims,” she said.

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