Congress leader Lakhan Jarkiholi, younger brother of former Karnataka minister and Sleaze CD case accused Ramesh Jarkiholi, has announced that he will campaign for BJP candidate, Mangala Angadi, in the forthcoming Belgaum Lok Sabha bypoll.
Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar and Angadi, widow of former Union Minister, Suresh Angadi met Jarkiholi at his residence in Gokak and invited him to canvas on behalf of the BJP ahead of the April 17 poll.
“For me, my eldest brothers Ramesh and Balachandra are most important. They are in deep trouble, I cannot see them in trouble anymore. I want to help them, that is why I have decided to work in favour of the BJP,” Lakhan Jarkiholi told reporters while announcing his decision to campaign for BJP instead of his brother, Satish Jarkiholi, who is the Congress candidate.
Shettar told reporters that Lakhan Jarkiholi is deeply upset with many issues in Congress, hence, he has decided to campaign for them. “Even Ramesh and Balachandra will campaign for us from next week onwards,” he said.
Lakhan Jarkiholi is known to handle elections on behalf of his brother in Gokak for nearly two decades. However, he had contested against his elder brother, who had quit the Congress and joined the BJP, in the 2019 bypolls in which Ramesh Jarkiholi won and became Water Resources Minister.
Incidentally, another brother, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee working president Satish Jarkiholi is contesting against Mangala.
Lakhan Jarkiholi, the youngest of the five brothers, was quite vocal and demanded that state Congress chief D.K. Shivakumar must resign from his post on moral grounds as his name too has cropped in Sleaze CD case, like his brother’s.
In a fresh development in the sleaze CD case, former minister D. Sudhakar’s name has cropped up. He is presently a Congress MLA from Hiriyur Assembly constituency.
Strongly denying links with the woman involved in the sleaze CD case, Sudhakar said that he had never met or spoken with the woman.
“This case has nothing to do with me as this is about BJP leader Ramesh Jarkiholi. I am shocked to see my name being flashed by all the news channels,” he said.
Replying to a question, he said he had not received any notice or summons from the Special Investigation Team probing this case. “If SIT summons me or issues me any notice, I will surely respond and co-operate with them,” he added.
He said that his name was unnecessarily being dragged into the case due to his close relations with Leader of the Opposition, Siddaramaiah and KPCC present, D. K. Shivakumar.
Countering a question, he asked why would he transfer money to the woman? “She may have my phone number, but I do not have her number. She may have called me but I have not saved her number,” he said.
Sudhakar had won his first election from Challakere as an Independent. Subsequently, he won from Hiriyur Assembly constituency in 2008 again as an Independent and became a minister in the B. S. Yediyurappa cabinet. He was one of the 16 legislators who were disqualified after rebelling against the Yediyurappa government in 2010.
Meanwhile, Ramesh Jarkiholi reportedly tested Covid positive and was admitted in hospital.
He was taken to the hospital in Gokak taluka in this Karnataka district after he developed breathing problems late Sunday night.
The BJP leader has failed to appear before the Special Investigation Team probing the case since Friday, citing health reasons.
His lawyer Shyam Sundar had said that Jarkiholi had developed a fever and cough. Testing Covid positive now, he may be advised to be in isolation for a few days.
“Jarkiholi is in the ICU as he has breathing problems, his oxygen level is low and he has low blood pressure. He is also diabetic. He is under observation and we have advised him to rest for the next three to four days,” Gokak taluk hospital’s Dr Ravindra told reporters.
The doctor said that the 60-year-old legislator was also diagnosed with low saturation and blood pressure levels.
He also added that his cook and driver have also tested Covid positive and they have also been admitted to the hospital.
Jarkiholi had travelled to Maharashtra’s Mahalakshmi temple in Kolhapur on March 30, even as the SIT was waiting to interrogate him.
He has failed to attend two interrogation sessions – one of them was scheduled for Monday and the other one earlier on Friday.
The BJP leader had, however, deputed his counsel with a letter saying that he was not well and will appear before the investigating team once he has recovered.
The Gokak MLA, who was the state Water Resources Minister, was forced to resign on March 3 after visuals of him in a compromising position with a woman surfaced on March 2 evening on news channels.
The woman in the Sleaze CD filed a complaint and soon the police registered an FIR against Jarkiholi, who has accused him of raping her twice after promising her a government job.
The woman in the Sleaze CD has recorded her statement before the magistrate in a special court in Bengaluru. Jarkiholi has maintained that the videos are fakes.
Meanwhile, the woman’s legal counsellor, Jagadesh K. N. Mahadev told reporters that he suspects that the BJP leader was trying to avoid arrest but he cannot do it for a long time. “Law has its own process, it will catch up with him soon,” he said.
Jarkiholi’s lawyer Shyam Sundar countered, saying that his client was neither misleading the court nor the SIT that is probing the case. “My client had been co-operating to his fullest capacity,” he told reporters. (IANS)