Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Jolle looks to occupy crease as 'rookie' Priyanka peps up Congress pitch

This election marks the debut of Priyanka, the daughter of Public Works Minister Satish Jarkiholi, one of Congress’ ST faces, whose family has clout in this region.
Last Updated : 03 May 2024, 23:24 IST
Last Updated : 03 May 2024, 23:24 IST

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Riding high on the ‘success’ of the guarantee schemes linked to the high number of women voters, the Congress has chosen 26-year-old Priyanka Jarkiholi to wrest the Chikkodi Lok Sabha seat from BJP’s battle-hardened Annasaheb Jolle.

In the last 33 years, Congress has won this seat only twice - 1991 and 2014. 

This election marks the debut of Priyanka, the daughter of Public Works Minister Satish Jarkiholi, one of Congress’ ST faces, whose family has clout in this region. 

Popularity of the guarantee schemes has been the point of discussion between staunch BJP and Congress supporters in various parts of the Lok Sabha seat.

Kallappa Magadum, 70, a milk supplier and farmer, was seen bantering with his friend Shafi Paanwale in Hukkeri. Magadum said the Shakti scheme led to his family’s “collapse”.

Apparently, his wife left him - thanks to a free bus ride - over a minor fight. To this, Shafi retorted that vaini (sister-in-law) must have left as she could not put up with Magadum’s drinking habit. 

“Guarantees per se have not spoiled family life. Look at me: my wife received Rs 8,000 (under Gruha Lakshmi). We had a nice Eid this time. Even vaini must have received the amount, which would have made for a nice Ugadi. But you snatched that money,” Shafi argued. Their friendly banter continued. 

A conversation like this around the guarantees is good news for Congress in a seat like Chikkodi that has nearly nine lakh women.

“The popularity of the guarantee schemes will surely make women voters lean towards Priyanka,” Congress leader Lakshman Rao Chingale, who also heads the Kuruba Association, said.

Jolle, like any other BJP candidate, is banking on PM Modi’s image. 

Apart from that, possible social alignments due to Priyanka’s candidature may help Jolle.

In fact, one BJP supporter from Kagwad said Priyanka in the fray can help Jolle overcome high anti-incumbency.

“Now, the election is not about who should win. It’s about whether or not people in Chikkodi want to allow the dominance of the Jarkiholis. There’s fear among upper castes such as Lingayats, Marathas and Jains over losing their grip over the power levers here,” the BJP worker said. 

Social activist Mohan Magadum concurred. “For a long time, Chikkodi was a reserved seat. It became a general seat 2009 onwards. So, the dominant castes feel that Satish Jarkiholi should have launched his daughter from a reserved seat,” he said, adding that majority communities are “strongly” rallying behind Jolle.

“But at the same time, the Jarkiholi family has a strong relationship with voters in the region. So, it’ll be battle of equals,” he said. 

Known for its sugarcane and grapes, Chikkodi has some four lakh Lingayats, the community that Jolle belongs to. There are 3.5 lakh SC/STs, 2.5 lakh Kurubas and 1.8 lakh Marathas. 


Former IAS officer Shambhu Kallolikar, a Dalit, is contesting as an Independent candidate. He is no pushover, given that he polled nearly 55,000 votes in the Raibag Assembly segment last year, finishing second and pushing Congress to the third spot. He is also believed to have some sway in Kudachi. 

Senior advocate and dramatist Krishna Rao Kundargi from Athani said the Jarkiholis are worried about the damage Kallolikar can cause. “If he gets a lakh votes, then it’ll be a difficult election for the Jarkiholis,” Kundargi said.  BJP lawmakers Ramesh Jarkiholi and Balachandra Jarkiholi - Satish’s brothers - are not actively taking part in Jolle’s campaign. BJP’s Ramesh Katti and Prabhakar Kore are also not seen. Jolle seems to be fighting a lone battle. 

Published 03 May 2024, 23:24 IST

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