Bengaluru: With more than six MLAs of the Congress ‘going underground’ amid intense poaching efforts by the BJP, the ruling JD(S)-Congress coalition has never looked as fragile as it is now, ironically on a day when former CM Siddaramaiah, to whom the coalition was looking to with hope to defuse the Jarkiholi engineered crisis, returned to Bengaluru after a tour of Europe.
The situation has reportedly reached a flashpoint even after Congress General Secretary in charge of Karnataka, K.C. Venugopal and Siddaramaiah tried to assuage the feelings of the Jarkiholi brothers. The rebels, along with other MLAs, however seem to be determined to go ahead with their plan of action.
Sources in the rebel camp told Deccan Chronicle that a major political development might happen in a couple of days with some MLAs likely to quit the Assembly and join the BJP for some ‘favours’. The rebels are also considering another option—preempt a crisis by resigning from the Assembly, negotiate with the Congress leadership to get what they want and then withdraw their resignations in which case the H.D. Kumaraswamy government may survive for now.
Sources said many Congress leaders, particularly those from North Karnataka, who are not happy with Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar consolidating his position in the party, have lent their tacit support to the Jarkiholi group. These leaders are also sore that they have not benefited in any way even after the Congress came to power with the JD(S), despite being the smaller partner in the coalition, grabbing prized portfolios and ensuring their sway over the functioning of the government. This has apparently emboldened the MLAs to take the rebel activity to a logical end.
Can Siddu douse the blaze?
With the revolt in the ruling Congress, engineered by the Jarkiholi brothers of Belagavi, reaching uncomfortable proportions, Congress legislature party leader, Siddaramaiah who landed in Bengaluru on Sunday after a 12-day Europe tour, was given the onerous task of pacifying the Jarkiholis.
Sources said Siddaramaiah instructed Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and MLA Satish Jarkiholi to fall in line before the high command takes their ‘rebellion’ seriously. The Jarkiholis have been on the warpath ever since they were humiliated during the PLD Bank polls in Belagavi when another Congress MLA, Laxmi Hebbalkar, considered close to Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar, ensured the selection of her nominees. This issue cropped up during the talks with the brothers asking Siddaramaiah to direct Shivakumar to stop interfering in Belagavi affairs.