Satish Jarkiholi’s big gamble in Belagavi byelection | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: KPCC working president Satish Jarkiholi’s decision to contest the Belagavi Lok Sabha bypoll may have a bearing on the Jarkiholi clan’s future as well as on Congress and BJP’s political calculations.
According to Congress functionaries, Satish was initially reluctant to contest the April 17 bypoll, but decided to take up the challenge in the Lingayatdominated constituency after his elder brother, Ramesh, got embroiled in the sex CD case. “It has become a matter of pride for the family, which believes it is facing an all-round attack. The brothers desperately want to show that the family remains influential,” said a party functionary.
Some in Congress believe that the party may not finally field Satish; it is projecting him as the candidate to create confusion in BJP, which is reportedly struggling to finalise its nominee.
Known as the ‘Sahukars of Belagavi’, the five Jarkiholi brothers have grown from being sugar barons to one of the most powerful political families in the region. Ramesh, who represents the Gokak constituency, is the eldest, followed by Satish (Yamkanmardi), Balachandra (Arabhavi), Bhimshi and Lakhan, who is the youngest.
Satish and Lakhan are with Congress, whereas Ramesh, Balachandra and Bhimshi are with BJP. The political diversity in the family ensures that at least one of them is part of the government of the day. This is the first time in the past two decades that none of them is a minister.
Some in political circles are surprised by Satish’s decision to contest the bypoll in BJP’s stronghold, especially since Congress has been demanding a high court-monitored inquiry into the sex CD case allegedly involving Ramesh. Plus, the Jarkiholi brothers have a running feud with KPCC president DK Shivakumar, who they suspect is trying to undermine their influence in Belagavi. If Satish, who belongs to the Nayaka/ Valmiki community, enters the fray, Congress may find it more difficult to lure Lingayats and Marathas away from BJP. For BJP, the worry is that Ramesh and Balachandra may not campaign against their brother. Political analyst S Mahadeva Prakash said that there were more than 3 lakh Lingayat voters in the Belagavi constituency and Satish would struggle if BJP fielded a Lingayat candidate. Professor Muzaffar H Assadi, a political scientist, echoed the view.

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Sagar Biswas

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