KMF chairman Balachandra could replace brother Ramesh Jarkiholi | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: After water resources minister Ramesh Jarkiholi resigned from BS Yediyurappa’s cabinet, speculations are rife in BJP circles that his younger brother and Arabhavi MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi will replace him.
Balachandra, who is currently chairman of Karnataka Milk Federation, will be inducted into Yediyurappa’s cabinet, provided the party high command gives consent. Else, Yediyurappa may be forced to keep the vacancy open to give Ramesh time to prove his innocence and return to the cabinet.
According to a minister in the BJP government, Ramesh agreed to resign only after chief minister BS Yediyurappa assured him he would accommodate Balachandra. The CM had to agree keeping in view the upcoming bypolls to Belagavi LS segment, where the Jarkiholis have significant influence.
Balachandra Jarkiholi was a minister in the first BJP government in Karnataka between 2008 and 2013 and worked under three different chief ministers. When Yediyurappa became CM for the fourth time in 2019, Balachandra was the obvious choice for a ministry but he was convinced to make way for his brother for his role in bringing the BJP to power. Balachandra was asked to head KMF.
It may be recalled that during the 2013-2018 Congress government, then CM Siddaramaiah had to face a similar situation after Satish Jarkiholi, who was a minister in his cabinet, resigned as he was not happy with the portfolio. Later, Siddaramaiah accommodated Ramesh in his cabinet to keep the Jarkiholis happy.
Ramesh later continued to be a minister in the HD Kumaraswamy led JD(S)-Congress coalition before he quit and joined BJP. In the 2018 assembly polls, while Ramesh and Satish fought on a Congress ticket, Balachandra was fielded by BJP.
The clout of the five Jarkiholi brothers — Ramesh, Satish, Balachandra, Bimashi and Lakhan — in Belagavi is hard to ignore. Hailing from an influential family with varied business interests over the past two decades, three of them — Ramesh, Satish and Balachandra — were elected to the legislative assembly in 2018.
But the scandal has come as a huge setback since it’s for the first time the five siblings will be out of power in one-and-a-half decades. Any one of thebrothers had been a minister since 2004. “We are yet to see whether the central leadership will entertain Jarkiholis like the previous governments or consider it an opportunity to end their reign,” said a BJP leader.

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Sagar Biswas

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