Cong high command steps in to resolve Karnataka crisis

Cong high command steps in to resolve Karnataka crisis

The firmness of the Jarkiholi brothers has forced the Congress high command to step in to resolve the political uncertainty that stares at the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah is expected to rush to New Delhi later on Tuesday amid the threat posed by Municipalities Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and his MLA brother Satish Jarkiholi.

On Tuesday morning, Ramesh went into a huddle with some of his MLA friends at a private hotel in Bengaluru, giving rise to speculation about what the outcome of this meeting could be. Desperate to save the coalition, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, too, rushed to the hotel in an attempt to reach out to the disgruntled MLAs.

Satish is slated to meet the party high command in New Delhi on Wednesday along with Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao.

The Jarkiholi family holds considerable sway in Belagavi district, which has been their fiefdom for the past two decades. Ramesh and Satish have given the Congress sleepless nights for the past two weeks due to their feud with Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar.

The brothers have placed at least five demands before the party: Keep Shivakumar away from Belagavi affairs, make Satish the state party president or deputy chief minister, Cabinet berths and board/corporation appointments for their loyalists, rejig the Belagavi district party unit and effect transfers of officials of their choice in the district.

The brothers have not only threatened to quit the Congress if their demands are not met, but they have also claimed to have the support of other legislators.

In the event that the Jarkiholi brothers take the drastic decision of leaving the Congress and manage to get their legislator friends to resign, the strength of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly will come down, paving way for the 104-member BJP to stake a claim for forming the new government.

Siddaramaiah, who was tasked with the responsibility of resolving the impasse, held talks with Ramesh on Monday. However, there was no change in the brothers’ stand.

The trigger for the Jarkiholis’ disgruntlement was an election to a local cooperative bank in Belagavi earlier this month, where candidates backed by them went up against those backed by archrival Laxmi Hebbalkar. In the polls, Hebbalkar’s group gained the upper hand.

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