Bypolls: Gokak all set for battle of siblings 2.0

Congress candidate for Assembly by-election from Gokak, Lakhan Jarkiholi, take out a road show ahead of filing of nomination papers on Monday.

The bypoll-bound Gokak Assembly constituency is set for another battle of brothers as Lakhan Jarkiholi sounded war bugle against his estranged brother and BJP candidate Ramesh Jarkiholi. Making his electoral debut, Lakhan filed nomination papers as Congress candidate on Monday amid a show of strength.

Interestingly, his another brother and Congress legislator Satish Jarkiholi also filed nomination, as standby, on the last day of filing of nominations.

BJP candidate Ramesh Jarkiholi, the five-time MLA from Gokak, accompanied by Union Minister Suresh Angadi, BJP MLAs Umesh Katti, Balachandra Jarkiholi and hundreds of supporters, took out a roadshow ahead of the filing of his nomination papers for the December 5 bypolls.

In the 2008 Assembly election, Ramesh, contesting on Congress ticket, had defeated his brother and BJP candidate Bhimshi. Interestingly, Bhimshi was relegated to third place. Ramesh had polled 44,989 votes while his nearest rival Ashok Pujari of JD(S) had garnered 37,229 votes. Bhimshi had received 34,958 votes.

Bhimshi had a tiff with his elder brother Ramesh over Hirenandi Sugar Factory. He took the electoral plunge with the sole intention of defeating Ramesh. Congress leader Satish supported BJP's Bhimshi. The 2008 elections in Gokak saw a triangular contest and eventually Bhimshi's presence in the fray helped Ramesh cross the line, it is said.

Ashok Pujari, who finished second to Ramesh in the last three elections, has managed to increase his vote share though. Pujari, a Panchamashali Lingayat, is contesting on JD(S) ticket, this time after the BJP denied him the ticket. The JD(S) has little or no base in Gokak.

Gokak, the fiefdom of Ramesh Jarkiholi, is all set for another sibling battle with Lakhan taking a plunge.

The high-stake contest between the estranged Jarkiholi brothers, also seen as the battle of prestige between the Congress and the BJP, has all the marking of a cracker.

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