Who are the Jarkiholi brothers?

Who are the Jarkiholi brothers?

Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi arriving to attend the meeting conducted by Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, at his residence Caveri, in Bengaluru on Monday. DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar

For over two decades now, the Jarkiholi family has ruled the roost in Belagavi, the sugar bowl of Karnataka. The five brothers, sons of rags-to-riches businessman Laxmanrao Jarkiholi, have grown to become one of Karnataka’s most powerful political families.

Ramesh Jarkiholi, 57, is the eldest who represents the Gokak constituency. Next is Satish Jarkiholi, 55, from the Yamkanmardi constituency. The third sibling is Balachandra Jarkiholi, 52, from the Arabhavi constituency. Then comes Bhimshi Jarkiholi, 50 and the youngest, Lakhan Jarkiholi, 42. They belong to the Nayaka/Valmiki community under the Scheduled Tribes.

Ramesh, Satish and Lakhan are with the Congress, whereas Balachandra and Bhimshi are with the BJP. The political diversity in the family ensures at least one of them finds a place in the government of the day.

In the 2008 polls, Bhimshi fought as the BJP candidate against Ramesh in the Gokak constituency but lost. This was Bhimshi’s last electoral candidature and has been politically inactive since. In the same election, Balachandra won from Arabhavi on the JD(S) ticket. Lakhan, who is keen to take an electoral plunge, is yet to get the ticket.

Belagavi is also home to the Kattis, the Pattans, the Koujalgis, the Hukkeris and the Jolles. However, it is said that no one can flourish politically in the district without the patronage of the Jarkiholi family. Belagavi is a politically-significant district with 18 Assembly constituencies, second after Bengaluru that has 28.

The Jarkiholi brothers in the Congress are known to be loyal to former chief minister Siddaramaiah. This is true especially of Satish, who was part of the Ahinda movement spearheaded by Siddaramaiah. Ahinda is the Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Scheduled Castes.

Satish followed Siddaramaiah to the Congress from the JD(S). Satish is also said to have played a key role in helping Siddaramaiah defeat BJP warhorse B Sreeramulu in the Badami constituency in the recent Assembly polls. In fact, Satish once floated the Valmiki Sena to counter Sreeramulu, who is also from the Valmiki/Nayaka community.

The Jarkiholis’ feud with party MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar (Belgaum Rural) exploded when her clout began to grow with the help of Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar. She also has the backing of the influential Lingayat community. When the Jarkiholis faced a setback in the Belagavi Taluk Primary and Rural Development (BTPRD) Bank election earlier this month, they began to feel sidelined

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