Bengaluru: Close on the heels of top Congress leaders' announcement of an expansion of the cabinet ahead of the winter session of legislature scheduled to commence in Belagavi on December 10, municipal administration minister, Ramesh Jarkiholi, on Friday provided a new twist to the turf war in the border district, saying he would not be cowed down or allow certain party colleagues to sideline him though they indulged in “assassinating his character”.
Mr Jarkiholi, who stirred intense speculation in political circles when he walked out of a meeting of the cabinet recently, told the media that certain “self-proclaimed influential leaders” were spreading canards about his continuance in Congress. “I am not leaving the party. These leaders want to portray me in poor light,” he said but declined to disclose the names of such leaders.
The minister, however, admitted about differences among state unit leaders.
“But after Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah intervened all the issues were sorted out,” he added. Meanwhile, three BJP MLAs from Mumbai Karnataka region: Ramadurga MLA, Mahadevappa Yadavada, Paranna Munavalli from Gangavati and Siddu Savadi from Teradala calling on Mr Jarkiholi at his residence, triggering speculation that their party has again launched 'Operation Lotus' to woo Congress legislators. Mr Jarkiholi and BJP legislators, however denied they discussed any political issue.
Sources in the Congress party interpret this strategy of the Jarkiholi camp to convey a message to senior central leaders that he was not happy with the manner in which the party handled local affairs in his home district, Belagavi.
“It’s not a co-incidence that these legislators met Mr Jarkiholi when senior leaders are talking about expansion of the cabinet. “By displaying his displeasure in public, he tried to send a message that the party should not induct anyone from Belagavi district into the cabinet,” sources added.