Belagavi: With former Congress minister Satish Jarkiholi contemplating leaving the party after he was dropped from the state cabinet, feverish attempts are being made by two of his brothers who are also in the Congress, to prevent him from resorting to rebel activity or cross the brink.
Congress leaders fear his exit will cause a great deal of damage to the party in the next assembly elections in Belagavi.
Sources close to the Jarkiholi brothers said that a section of party leaders are persuading Lakhan Jarkiholi, youngest of the Jarkiholi brothers, to contest from Yamakanamardi constituency, which Satish represents now, and want Satish to contest from Belagavi North.
While most party leaders feel this is a pressure tactic to keep Satish in the Congress, Lakhan's associates said their leader is keen to contest the next election.
“With a large section of followers backing him in most assembly segments in Belagavi, Satish wants to see state Women's Congress president Laxmi Hebbalkar defeated in Belagavi Rural in the next election as he blames her for his removal from the Cabinet. His exit will also affect party prospects in Gokak, a constituency represented by his brother Ramesh Jarkiholi in the assembly. Although the party replaced him in the cabinet with his brother, his removal is an insult meted out to the most popular Congress leader in Belagavi,” said a close friend of Satish.
Satish and Ramesh are not on good terms politically ever since Satish was sacked from the cabinet.
The Congress is aware of the fact that Satish would spoil the chances of several of its candidates in Belagavi district in the next assembly election, sources said, adding that upset over his removal from cabinet, Satish is keen to show the people his strength.
Fearing the consequences, both Ramesh and Lakhan are working out strategies to ensure that Satish stays in the Congress party without causing any damage to it. Considering his popularity, Satish would win from any assembly segment in Belagavi easily while Ramesh and Lakhan lack his leadership qualities.