Karnataka political crisis blows over

Municipalities Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi

The JD(S)-Congress coalition appears to have survived its first major crisis with disgruntled Municipalities Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi on Wednesday announcing that he had no plan to quit the Congress and expressed hope that the party would resolve issues.

Though he appeared to have dropped the demand for the deputy chief minister's post, Ramesh has come out with a new set of demands which are, according to him, in the interest of the Scheduled Tribe community. The demands are: increasing reservation for STs from 3% to 7.5%, a Cabinet berth for an ST leader, appointing a community leader to the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) and making an ST leader member of the Legislative Council.

“I am not joining the BJP. But I have asked the party to take certain measures in the interest of the ST community. I am confident that the Congress leaders will resolve all issues...I don’t want to comment on any other issues. The Chief Minister (H D Kumaraswamy), too, has assured us all issues will be resolved,” Ramesh told DH.


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Throughout this month, Ramesh and his MLA brother Satish Jarkiholi had kept the coalition government on tenterhooks by threatening to revolt. Of late, however, a rift grew between them, with Satish trying to convince Ramesh not to drag the issue and give BJP any advantage.

Ramesh's new set of demands are seen as an effort to emerge as the leader of the prominent ST community. The Jarkiholis belong to the Valmiki/Nayaka community under ST. Ramesh is learnt to have demanded a Cabinet berth for Bellary MLA B Nagendra, who is also an ST.

Sources in the Congress said the Jarkiholi brothers gave up on their major demands like the deputy chief minister's post as they had the support of only four MLAs. Their efforts to rope in other disgruntled legislators went in vain.

Another major demand was to stop Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar from interfering in Belagavi politics. Later in the day, Ramesh met Shivakumar in what was seen as truce talks, effectively drawing curtains on the turf war the two had waged.

 

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Karnataka political crisis blows over

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