The political scenario in the state is hotting up as both the Congress-JD(S) (Janata Dal- Secular) join hands and the BJP prepare for what they believe are impending developments that could impact all the parties concerned, especially the ruling coalition government.
The BJP leaders, on their part, have been holding hectic parleys in anticipation of a major jolt to the ruling combine. Unperturbed, the JDS leader and state chief minister, Kumaraswamy, has hinted that he was confident of getting at least five BJP MLAs.
He even accused the BJP of resorting to Operation Kamal, an exercise known for luring opposition MLA’s to switch sides through allurements. The BJP, however, is contesting these charges even as its leaders continue to hope for a chance to rule the state again.
The Congress party is feeling the heat now as the belligerent stance adopted by state minister Ramesh and his brother, Satish Jarkiholli, senior Congress leaders from Belgavi, have made the national party jittery.
The two who had long meetings with the state unit president, Gundu Rao, and deputy chief minister, Parameshwara, have threatened to rock the boat if their demands are not met. Their immediate plea is to stop senior leader and minister, D K Shivkumar, from allegedly interfering in the politics of Belgavi, their stronghold. Gundu Rao, D K Shivkumar,
The brothers have also claimed support of at least 12 legislators, adding that all of them have been together now for some time. Ramesh, one of the brothers, is also a minister in the fragile coalition government. It appears to be a case of an ego clash for the Jarkiholis who,till recently, had a big say in deciding the presidentship of a local bank.
The brothers, were challenged by one of their old allies Laxmi Hebbalkar, recently in the elections to the Primary Land Development bank. She was also allegedly backed by Shivkumar Much to the disappointment of the brothers, the candidates supported by Hebbalkar romped home. The miffed Jarkiholis have been threatening to quit the party since then.
Among the other demands of the brothers is that Satish should be made the state party president even as they threatened the party, saying that ‘anything’ can happen in the next fortnight. We will take a crucial decision on 16 September once former chief minister and Congress legislature party leader, Siddharamiah, returns from his trip abroad.” In the same breath, however, they asserted that they would not quit the party.
The BJP, on its part, does not want to lose any opportunity to strike, desperate as it is to grab power. The Jarkiholis’ development prompted the party president, BS Yeddyurappa, to convene a quick meeting of senior leaders, including former chief minister, Jagdish Shettar ‘for stock taking’. The state president was also met other senior leaders including Shobha Karnadlalje, Govind Karjol and Umesh Katti.
According to reliable information, the party leaders have been directed to keep a close watch on the ensuing developments in the Congress while being prepared for any eventuality. Alternatively, the party has established contact with the Jarkiholi brothers to “keep the channels open,” as a senior leader told The Statesman. As of now though,the BJP would like to wait and watch though.
The BJP, which bagged 104 seats in the recent elections was outfoxed by a quick-thinking Congress even before it could stitch the required numbers to form a government. The Congress wanted to keep the BJP at bay and, therefore, quickly aligned with the JDS under Kumaraswamy.