Karnataka potboiler: Do the Jarkiholis have enough rebel MLAs on their side?

Karnataka potboiler: Do the Jarkiholis have enough rebel MLAs on their side?
Karnataka potboiler: Do the Jarkiholis have enough rebel MLAs on their side?
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On Tuesday morning, rumours of another round of resort politics in Karnataka surfaced in the media. BJP leaders gave confident speeches of having enough rebel MLAs in their kitty to bring down the coalition government in the state.

The rumours sent leaders in the coalition into a tizzy and emergency meetings were held. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy rushed to Bengaluru’s Taj West End Hotel to negotiate with the rebels. An unhappy Kumaraswamy refused to speak to the media and zoomed away in his car followed by his security convoy.

Uncertainty gripped Karnataka politics and fresh rumours of Kumaraswamy’s possible resignation began to surface. Is there any truth to it?

Party insiders say that although several drastic outcomes were possible, the existing situation is not as far fetched as is being portrayed by the media.

“This is just a bargaining method. Threaten to quit then and negotiate terms to get more power. This morning (Tuesday morning), in a three-hour meeting with Jarkiholi and his people, Kumaraswamy listened to their demands and tried to negotiate terms. Kumaraswamy has promised the Jarkiholis a favourable outcome. The CM has to side with the rebels now in order to keep his precious chair,” a Congress leader told TNM.

What are the demands of the Jarkiholi brothers?

1.       Ramesh Jarkiholi must be made the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka in place of Dr G Parameshwara

2.       His brother Satish Jarkiholi must either be given a plum ministerial berth or be made the President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee

3.       The High Command must strictly instruct Water Resource Minister DK Shivakumar to stop interfering in the Belagavi Congress, and

4.       Lakshmi Hebbalkar, the trusted lieutenant of DK Shivakumar, must be stopped from extending her influence in Belagavi

The chairman of the coalition coordination committee and former CM Siddaramaiah, KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao, DK Shivakumar and KPCC Working President Eshwar Khandre are all set to fly to New Delhi on Tuesday evening to meet with party president Rahul Gandhi to discuss the issue.

“Ramesh Jarkiholi only put forth his demands during the meeting with Kumaraswamy. As far as Satish Jarkiholi is concerned, he is getting what he wants in the next cabinet reshuffle. Ramesh Jarkiholi has given the Congress time till September 30 to concede to his demands,” the source added.

However, another senior Congress leader told TNM that they were not worried of the Jarkiholis creating too much trouble at the moment as the brothers had not managed to attract enough rebel MLAs to their side.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders have been leaking information to the media regarding possible defections from the Congress. 

On Tuesday, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, BS Yeddyurappa announced that the Congress leader who would bring in the highest number of rebel MLAs into the BJP’s fold would be offered the post of Deputy Chief Minister.

BJP sources claimed that Ramesh Jarkiholi, Kampli MLA JN Ganesh, Hosakote MLA MTB Nagaraju, Kolar MLA Srinivasa Gowda, Maski MLA Pratapgouda Patil, Mulbagal MLA Nagendra, Hagaribommanahalli MLA Bheema Naik, Hadagali MLA PT Parameshwara Nayak and Vijayanagara MLA Anand Singh have promised to quit the Congress.

However, Parameshwara Nayak, on Tuesday dismissed such claims and said that he would stay put in the Congress.

“BJP has several dossiers on Congress leaders. So far, we have 10 MLAs. With time, more will come. By Wednesday evening, we are expecting at least 10 defections. MTB Nagaraju will hold a press conference once the decision has been made,” the source added.

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