Congress top brass intervenes to end Belagavi feud

Last Updated 06 September 2018, 20:49 IST

The Congress leadership has been forced to intervene in the Belagavi feud between the powerful Jarkiholi brothers and their archrival Lakshmi Hebbalkar, which has set off alarm bells in the Congress-JD(S) coalition.

The party has issued strict instructions to Municipalities Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, his brother Satish Jarkiholi (Yamakanamardi MLA) and Hebbalkar, who is also Congress MLA from Belgaum Rural constituency. They have been asked to lie low.

The stricture comes ahead of the election to the posts of president and vice-president of the Belagavi Taluk Primary and Rural Development (BTPRD) Bank, scheduled on Friday. The Jarakiholi brothers and Hebbalkar are on opposite sides, with each claiming support of the bank’s directors to ensure their candidates emerge victorious.

“They have been told clearly not to speak publicly or comment on party leaders in public fora,” KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao told DH.

AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal had directed the Jarkiholis and Hebbalkar not to wash dirty linen in public.

“It has been made clear to them that any deviation will be viewed seriously. The issues must be sorted out in a party forum,” Rao said.

The Jarkiholi family is known to have considerable sway in Belagavi. Hebbalkar, who was once close to Ramesh that caused a rift between him and his brother, is now trying to wield her own clout after becoming a legislator.

This has brought Ramesh and Satish together.

Hebbalkar enjoys the support of Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar, which angered the Jarkiholis.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy rang up Shivakumar and requested him to keep distance from the Belagavi feud, lest it threatens the stability of the government.

Shivakumar is learnt to have been making efforts to get a Cabinet berth for Hebbalkar. Jarkiholi brothers have been opposing it.

Ramesh to support brother

In Belagavi, district incharge Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi said he would support the decision that his brother and MLA Satish Jarkiholi takes, post the bank election.

He told reporters, “Laxmi is involved in horsetrading. Some directors of the BTPRD bank are with her. However, a majority of the directors support Satish”.

The minister said Laxmi’s statement that she had given Rs 90 crore to the Jarkiholi family had hurt him.

“She should recall all the favours we have done to her,” he said.

Meanwhile, On Venugopal’s direction, KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre will camp in Belagavi on Friday and it will be his responsibility to ensure a smooth election and coordination among local leaders.

(Published 06 September 2018, 17:45 IST)

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