Why this former Karnataka BJP minister wants to defeat a Congresswoman of a different constituency

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BySouth First Desk

Published Jan 27, 2023 | 3:21 PMUpdatedApr 11, 2023 | 6:00 PM

Ramesh Jarkiholi and Laxmi Hebbalkar Karnakata

In most elections, it’s the norm for candidates from two parties contesting in the same constituency to take on each other. But something else is brewing in Karnataka’s Belagavi.

Former BJP minister and Gokak BJP MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi wants to see Congress MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar defeated, although they aren’t even contesting from the same seat.

Ramesh Jarkiholi has taken a vow that he would ensure the defeat of Congress’ Belagavi Rural MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar even if it means paying ₹6,000 per vote, as he declared at a recent event.

Once noted as close associates, the rivalry between the duo started soon after Hebbalkar was elected as MLA in 2018. And the rivalry reached its peak during the Belagavi District Cooperative Bank elections in 2018.

The alleged interference of KPCC president DK Shivakumar in Belagavi politics is also among the reasons that have irked Jarkiholi, it is said.

For Jarkiholi, who has always held sway over cooperative banks, the 2018 defeat at the hands of Hebbalkar, backed by DK Shivakumar, was an “insult”. It even led to him quitting the Congress and joining the BJP.

Now Jarkiholi wants Laxmi Hebbalkar defeated in the upcoming assembly election as means of vengeance not just against her but also Shivakumar, who Jarkiholi claims attempted to finish off his political career with sleaze tapes.

Jarkiholi was compelled to resign from the Karnataka Cabinet after a woman seen with him in sleaze tapes alleged she was sexually exploited with promise of a job. Jarkiholi has held DK Shivakumar responsible for the entire episode.