Karnataka: More than what meets the eye in the Jarkiholi-Laxmi Hebbalkar fight
Bengaluru, Sep 17: The trouble within the Karnataka Congress appears to have gone out of control. The party high command hopes that former chief minister, Siddaramaiah would be able to pacify those rebelling and bring peace within the party.
Siddaramaiah who himself has made controversial remarks regarding the Congress-JD(S) coalition was away on a holiday. Now with his return the party hopes to regain some amount of normalcy.
The trouble for the Congress began over a very petty issue. It was relating to a primary land development bank in Belagavi. This led to a major tussle between the Jarkiholi brothers of Gokani and the very powerful legislator from Belagavi, Laxmi Hebbalkar.
There has always been trouble between them, but it escalated to another level after Laxmi was elected to the legislative assembly earlier this year. The dissent was voiced by Ramesh Jarkiholi, who is the Minister for Municipal Administration Adn his brother Satish Jarkiholi.
Can the Jarkiholi brothers be ignored:
The five brothers enjoy a major clout. For the past two decades at least one of the brothers has been in the government irrespective of which party has been in power. Moreover they are powerful in the politically significant Belagavi.
While they can cause plenty of problems and irritation to the Congress, they do not enjoy the support of many legislators as a result of which they would not find it easy to pull down the government in Karnataka.
However it does not appear as though the Jarkiholi brothers are interested in pulling down the government. They want to check the growing influence of Laxmi Hebbalkar, who appears to be gaining considerably in clout in the Belagavi region.
Belagavi is a politically important region and has 18 assembly constituencies. It is second only to Bengaluru, where there are 28 assembly seats.
Going by the developments, it is clear that Laxmi Hebbalkar has the backing of the very powerful D K Shivakumar. He has been a chief minister in waiting and is aware that for him to enjoy a bigger clout, he would also need control over Belagavi.
The Jarkiholi vs Laxmi Hebbalkar fight is not only about control over Belagavi. It also to gain control over the cooperative banks in the region. The farm loan waiver issue becomes important in this regard as they are disbursed by the cooperative banks. This explains why both sides are keen on gaining absolute control over the cooperative banks in the region.