Last Update: March 21, 2023, 13:13 IST
Ahead of the assembly elections in Karnataka, BJP leader and former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi has once again warned the saffron party that if his follower and BJP MLA Mahesh Kumathalli is denied a ticket from Athani constituency in Belagavi district, he will also Will not contest from this seat. Gokak (his constituency) and retired from politics.
“Mahesh Kumathalli is a candidate, it is final. He resigned from the previous party and helped form this government. I will not contest from Gokak and if he is not given the ticket, I will also retire from politics.
BJP leader and former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa had earlier said that around four to five MLAs may not get tickets in this election. Furthermore, recent rumors suggested that senior party leaders are planning to field former deputy CM Laxman Savadi from Athani in the upcoming assembly elections.
Jarkiholi and Kumathalli were among the 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) legislators who brought down the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in 2019 and helped the saffron party form a government with an absolute majority in the state.
In fact, Ramesh Jarkiholi pulled Kumathalli from the Congress party to the BJP in 2019 in the hope that both would find a place in the state cabinet. Jarkiholi became the Water Minister between 2020-2021, Kumathalli did not get any important position in the party. And now, Savadi and Jarkiholi are at loggerheads as Jarkiholi wants his ally Kumathalli to contest from Athani instead of Savadi.
Savadi was defeated by Kumathalli from Athani in the 2018 assembly elections on a Congress ticket. Later he joined BJP and won the by-election on BJP ticket.
talking to cnn-news18, Congress MLA Priyank Kharge said the issue needed a comprehensive picture as the BJP was in a dilemma whether to give ticket to a native BJP leader or an expatriate leader. Moreover, since Jarkiholi was a ‘cog in the wheel’ during the alleged Operation Kamala in 2019, he cannot be ignored.
However, the Congress is not interested in the BJP’s case as it will win in Belagavi not only because people are tired of the alleged corrupt government, but also because of their poor handling of the Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue, Kharge said.
“Savadi was made deputy CM and was suddenly made dumb like a hot potato. BJP has dug its own grave. When he did Operation Kamala in 2019, did he not know that Savadi was an important person for his party?
He said, “Now they are in a dilemma whether to give ticket to an expatriate MLA or to a leader who is originally from the BJP. They can’t ignore Mr. Jarkiholi for a reason either. We are not interested in BJP but we are confident that we will win the elections”, Kharge said.
Meanwhile, former deputy CM Savadi has said that he does not want to comment on Jarkiholi’s statement, but he will talk to the people of his constituency and then talk to the high command about seeking tickets.
“I still haven’t asked for tickets. I’ve given up on people. If people say don’t ask for tickets, I won’t. He is also a leader and I hope he will understand. I will not comment on his (Ramesh Jarkiholi) statement nor will it create any controversy. He is also a senior leader”, he said.
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