Forest Minister Satish Jarkiholi’s supposed opposition to Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar supervising the elections in North Karnataka, yet again, underlines the manner in which the family bands together, irrespective of their political opinions, when their “territorial authority” is questioned.
His brother Ramesh Jarkiholi, who has now distanced himself from the Congress and is said to be hobnobbing with the Bharatiya Janata Party, has long been critical of Mr. Shivakumar’s handling of party affairs and “interference” in Belagavi politics.
‘Sahukar’ and ‘worker’
However, Mr. Satish has denied having any reservations. “The party senior leadership will decide who will campaign where. If the party sends Mr. Shivakumar to Kundagol, we will accept the decision. We have worked under his supervision in Gundlupet in the past,” he said. However, he said Mr. Shivakumar should not have ridiculed the Jarkiholi clan by saying that they were “Sahukars” (the wealthy) while he was a common party worker. “He should not have made such a statement in haste,” Mr. Satish said.
Those who are close to the Jarkiholi family maintain that the brothers are united in their opposition to Mr. Shivakumar’s interference in party affairs in North Karnataka in general and Belagavi in particular.
“When MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar sought Mr. Shivakumar’s help in getting her followers elected to the PLD bank in Belagavi last year, both Mr. Ramesh and Mr. Satish had opposed it. In fact, Mr. Satish went to meet KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre who came to Belagavi to settle the issue. Mr. Ramesh is vocal about his opposition to Mr. Shivakumar, but Mr. Satish is diplomatic. He gets things done silently,” said a close aide of Mr. Satish.
Some leaders maintain that the brothers remain united despite their public differences. “Mr. Ramesh and Mr. Satish may be fighting over one replacing the other as Minister or the possibility of Mr. Ramesh trying to resign. But when it comes to protecting their turf, they are one,” said Ashok Pujari, BJP leader from Gokak. He claimed that all the five Jarkiholi brothers work strategically to exclude outsiders from their “pocket borough of Gokak and other taluks.”
Interestingly, a day after polling, BJP MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi told presspersons that the brothers were united when it came to family matters. “Politically we may be leaders of different parties or constituencies. But we are brothers who love and respect each other. If there are any differences, we will sit together and sort them out,” he said.
Backing the son
Most recently, this was indicated by Mr. Ramesh’s son Amarnath being elected unopposed as director of the Belagavi District Milk Producers’ Cooperative Union last week. Congress workers say the Jarkiholi clan has worked in unison in ensuring his victory. Mr. Balachandra actively campaigned for him and ensured that others did not file nominations against him in Gokak. In Belagavi Rural, Mr. Satish pitched in to help Mr. Amarnath’s panel members win, they say.
An observer pointed out that the union elections were held on Sunday, but the unanimous winners were decided three days earlier, when the Jarkiholi brothers were engaged in heated exchanges on television.
Shivakumar’s visit to Kundagol
Amid speculations about him being divested of the responsibility of campaigning for Kundagol bypolls, Mr. Shivakumar is set to tour the constituency on Thursday and Friday. Mr. Shivakumar is scheduled to land in Hubballi on Thursday afternoon. He will be participating in the campaign programmes, according to the local Congress unit.