Ramesh Jarkhiholi visits Krishna, sparks speculation

Speaking to reporters, Jarkiholi called Krishna his "leader" and said he paid a visit to inquire about his health and was not aware that Yeddyurappa was also visiting him. File photo

Amid perceived threat to the coalition government in Karnataka after its rout in the Lok Sabha polls, rebel Congress MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi on Sunday visited senior BJP leader S M Krishna's home here in the presence of party state Chief B S Yeddyurappa.

Though the leaders termed the timing as "coincidence", Jarkiholi, in response to a question on whether he would quit Congress, said he would have to discuss it with his "team".

Jarkiholi has been hobnobbing with the BJP for some time and had threatened to resign from the party along with some MLAs after the Lok Sabha polls, which would lead to a numbers game in the assembly.

Speaking to reporters, Jarkiholi called Krishna his "leader" and said he paid a visit to inquire about his health and was not aware that Yeddyurappa was also visiting him. 

About his resignation, Jarkiholi said "will give (resignation)...will not give it through media, will (discuss with) well wishers and give... I won't say (when)...I may even give after one year (he said, upset over repeated questioning). "...we are a team, Im not alone. Will have to inform everyone and do it (resign) together,"he said, as he clarified that his visit had nothing to do with politics.

He evaded a direct reply to a question on the number of MLAs he claimed were with him and shot back "Will you (media) inform and go for a sting operation?

To a question, if that meant he was involved in any secret operation, he said "...I'm giving an example, don't confuse. I won't say anything else." Interestingly, Jarkiholis visit to Krishna's residence along with Chikkaballapura Congress MLA K Sudhakar raised eyebrows within Congress circles, with doubts now emerging about him being part of a "rebel team".

Sudhakar told reporters here that Krishna was his political guru and father figure and it was a courtesy visit he used to pay once a month.

He said he told Jarkiholi, who had come to his residence that he would be visiting Krishna and asked him whether he would like to join, to which he agreed.

"When we were there, Yedyurappa came... we were not aware of his visit. It was unexpected for us," he said.

Sudhakar has been expressing his displeasure against the coalition and party leadership for some time now, after not being inducted into the ministry and being denied Chairmanship to any board and corporation.

BJP has predicted the collapse of the coalition and increase in its tally in the assembly after the LS poll results, claiming that 20 odd Congress MLAs are unhappy with the government and may take any decision anytime, as coalition partners Congress and JD(S) each won one seat in the LS polls.

BJP made a clean sweep, winning 25 of the total of 28 seats. Also, Sumalatha Ambareesh, an independent candidate supported by the saffron party, was victorious in Mandya against Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamys son Nikhil.

Meanwhile, Yeddyurappa said he had come to thank Krishna for the effort he had put in by campaigning for party candidates in Karnataka and ensuring their victory.

"...there is no strategy going on, they (Jarkiholi and Sudhakar) are well wishers of S M Krishna and had come to meet him," he said about any strategy as Jarkiholi was also visiting Krishna at the same time.

"It (visit) was a coincidence...there are no special reasons to it, Yeddyurappa said, as he clarified that he had held no discussions with Jarkiholi and Sudhakar.

He said, there is no such proposal about Jarkiholi joining BJP.

"I dont know anything about it. Individually what he decides is left to him. We did not discuss anything about it. We only sat together and had coffee at Krishna's residence and greeted each other."

BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, who had accompanied Yeddyurappa to Krishna's residence said he too had not held any discussions with Congress MLAs.

On his photo with Jarkiholi and Sudhakar appearing in the media, he said "...media have captured only one side there were people sitting on the other side, so it was not meeting between just us... Our visit was just a coincidence. There was no politics involved."

Shaken by the rout of the ruling Congress-JDS combine in the Lok Sabha polls and possible threat to the government by disgruntled legislators, the Karnataka cabinet on Friday had reposed its "faith and confidence" in the leadership of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who had offered to resign, and asserted that the coalition would continue.

There are reports in the local media that about six to eight Congress MLAs were in touch with Jarkiholi and may soon shift their base to Goa.

The Karnataka assembly has 224 members, in which BJP has 105 MLAs, Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP (1), independent (1) (both currently supporting the ruling alliance), KPJP (1) and Speaker. 

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