Hubballi: Belagavi, where the original rebellion to unseat the JD(S)-Congress coalition government gained traction last year, is set to witness a political churning of sorts with Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar, back from a jail stint in Delhi, intent on ensuring the defeat of disqualified Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, the kingpin of the revolt, in the December 5 bypolls. In the process, the Congress trouble-shooter on a comeback trail, may also succeed in leaving both CM B.S. Yediyurappa and his rivals in the Congress including Siddaramaiah, completely red-faced.
It was the standoff between Shivakumar and Ramesh Jarkiholi over a local bank election that led to a steady grouping of dissident Congress legislators who finally camped in Mumbai and ensured the ouster of the Kumaraswamy govt with the help of some JD(S) legislators in July. Shivakumar was one of the senior ministers in the Kumaraswamy government.
The senior Congress leader is now doing his best to ensure that rebel BJP aspirants Ashok Pujari - Gokak seat - and Raju Kage - Kagwad - enter the fray and queer the pitch for his bête noire Ramesh Jarkiholi and disqualified Kagwad MLA Shrimant Patil by contesting from these seats as Congress candidates. In the process he may also succeed in stopping the Congress ticket for Gokak going to Lakhan Jarkiholi, brother of former Congress minister Satish Jarkiholi who is considered a close loyalist of former CM Siddaramaiah.
And what better way to get even with Siddaramaiah who had scoffed at him for holding a JD(S) flag during his homecoming from Delhi?
The two BJP rebels - Kage and Pujari - had turned down CM Yediyurappa's offers to placate them with posts of chairpersons of boards and corporations so that they would not oppose the candidature of Ramesh Jarkiholi and Srimanth Patil.
Instead, these BJP leaders chose to meet Shivakumar to make sure they were in contention for Congress tickets for the bypolls. Sources in the Congress said Mr Shivakumar, who has been spewing venom against BJP leaders ever since he was released from Tihar jail after being incarcerated for 50 days, views the bypolls as a means to get even with both, disqualified legislators like Ramesh Jarkiholi as well as BJP leaders and ensure a political rebirth for himself. He is expected to do his best to ensure the defeat of most disqualified legislators in order to prevent the ruling party from crossing the magic figure of 113, post Assembly bypolls, sources added....