Battle of Jarkiholi bros on cards in Gokak

Hubballi: While disqualified MLA, Ramesh Jarkiholi, who helped topple the coalition government in the state, is fighting a legal battle against the decision of former Speaker, Ramesh Kumar to disqualify him,  Congress leaders are preparing to contest the byelection to the Gokak assembly constituency  he resigned from.

With Mr Ramesh's brother, Lakhan, widely tipped to contest the bypoll on a Congress ticket,  he recently joined former CM, Siddaramaiah and another of his brothers, Satish, on a tour of the constituency. The trio, who are reported to have worked out a strategy for the poll, went on a padayatra in several flood-hit villages and also in Gokak as nearly half the town was submerged in the waters of the overflowing Ghataprabha river during the recent deluge.

Should the BJP decide to field Mr Ramesh in Gokak, it could be a battle of the brothers in the constituency. His loyalists are already laying the ground for the contest, holding a series of meetings with members of local bodies, taluks and the zalla panchayats.

Relations between the Jarkiholi brothers soured over differences between Mr Ramesh and Congress leader,  Laxmi Hebbalkar over elections to the local PLD bank.  Although Mr Satish tried to retain his brother in the Congress, he failed to win him over and has now thrown his weight behind Mr Lakhan.

The latest Jarkiholi brother hoping to make it big in politics,  has  been targeting Mr Ramesh's brothers-in-law, Appirao Patil, Ambirao Patil and Shankar Patil, calling them the "three idiots," and holding them responsible for the rift between the Jarkiholi brothers. "Lakhan has been  preparing for the last six months to contest against Ramesh.. There will be a close contest between the two brothers if the by-elections are held", said an associate of Mr Satish.

But should Mr Ramesh contest, he could face opposition from within the party as local BJP leader, Ashok Pujari, who has unsuccessfully contested against him in the last three Assembly polls, has  called him "autocratic" and made it clear he doesn't care for the idea.

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