Fear of Defection Grows as Ramesh Jarkiholi Remains Incommunicado
Ramesh Jarkiholi is said to have the support of 5-6 disgruntled MLAs.
With senior Congress leader Ramesh Jarkiholi remaining incommunicado for close to a week, speculations of him joining the BJP are worrying the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka.
Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was the minister for municipal and urban administration, was dropped from the cabinet on 22 December. Jarkiholi, the Belagavi strongman, had gone into hibernation since, much to the discomfort of the coalition leaders.
Jarkiholi is alleged to be in talks with BJP’s senior leadership in New Delhi. BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa’s extended stay in New Delhi has intensified the speculations of Ramesh meeting BJP president Amit Shah to discussion a possible defection.
5-6 MLAs ‘in Touch’ With Jarkiholi
Before going incommunicado, Ramesh had said that he was in touch with a few disgruntled MLAs. According to sources, there are at least 5-6 MLAs from North Karnataka, who were denied a cabinet berth, supporting Ramesh Jarkiholi.
However, the BJP will require 16 MLAs to resign or abstain from participating in the vote of confidence to topple the government.
The politics in Belagavi, which has the second highest number of seats in Karnataka after Bengaluru, has been controlled by Ramesh Jarkiholi and his brother Satish. The two leaders hold immense influence over the leaders in the region.
The brothers had threatened to rebel against the Congress party a few months back, after they were outraged by senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar’s attempts to assert his influence in Belagavi.
However, Satish Jarkiholi said he hasn’t been able to get in touch with his brother and he hopes Ramesh will not indulge in anti-party activities.
BJP Trying to Buy MLAs -Siddaramaiah
Chairman of Coordination Committee of the coalition government Siddaramaiah on Sunday said he didn’t know where Ramesh was. “I don’t know where Ramesh Jarkiholi is. None knows. But I’m sure he will not leave the party, come what may,” said Siddaramaiah.
This was followed by an allegation that the BJP was trying to buy MLAs. “BJP is indulging in horse trading by offering Rs 25 crore to Rs 30 crore to each legislator. If they are not corrupt, where are they getting such a huge amount from? As the Opposition party, what has it done so far except trying to bring down the government,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.
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