Hubballi: There is no end to the war of words between Belagavi Congress MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar and her friend turned foe and Gokak BJP candidate Ramesh Jarkiholi who was earlier in the Congress.
On Wednesday, Ms Hebbalkar who is overseeing the Congress campaign in Athani Assembly constituency, continued to target Ramesh Jarkiholi claiming during her election campaign in Athani that the plan to extend support to the BJP was discussed by the disqualified legislators for the first time in her presence in Hyderabad just a week before the formation of the previous JD(S)-Congress coalition government in 2018.
Indirectly referring to Ramesh Jarkiholi, she claimed that he had advised her to join the BJP during the meeting but she rejected the offer. Asserting that Bailhongal Congress MLA Mahantesh Koujalagi was also present in the meeting, she said that the Operation Kamala actually started just a week after the declaration of the Assembly election results though it finally succeeded only in July this year.
"The disqualified legislators had held a meeting in Hyderabad to discuss joining the BJP six days after the announcement of the Assembly poll results. An influential leader from Belagavi had invited me, Kaujalagi and other disqualified legislators for the meeting. I was shocked after listening to their plan to defect from the Congress and left the meeting after rejecting their offer as my party has given everything for me", Ms Hebbalkar said.
Earlier, she had likened Ramesh Jarkiholi to the demon, Bhasmasura in Hindu mythology, who received a boon that anyone whose head he touched with his hand would immediately turn into ash. The demon had touched his own head and was reduced to ashes while dancing to match the moves of Lord Vishnu who was in the disguise of Mohini, Hebbalkar said while referring to Ramesh.
Sources said that she was earlier made bypoll in-charge of Gokak where Ramesh Jarkiholi is contesting as per the suggestion of Congress leader Satish Jarkiholi who planned to use her for an aggressive campaign against his brother Ramesh. But, Laxmi Hebbalkar moved to adjacent Athani constituency on her own as a provocative campaign by her in Gokak could create law and order problems. She has been at loggerheads with Ramesh Jarkiholi ever since their relation soured over elections to the Belagavi PLD bank in September last year.