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Two Jarkiholi brothers to slug it out in Gokak

Staff Correspondent

Ramesh L. Jarkiholi is pitted against Bhimshi L. Jarkiholi

The Jarkiholi family is said to be witnessing a power struggle

The JD(S) candidate, Ashok N. Pujari, hopes to benefit from this

Belgaum: Gokak, which has staked its claim to “district headquarters” tag in the event of the government creating a new district of Belgaum in preference to the claim of the people of Chikkodi, is all set for a fierce triangular battle between the two Jarkiholi brothers-turned-political rivals and the Janata Dal (Secular) candidate, Ashok N. Pujari.

The two brothers, Ramesh L. Jarkiholi and Bhimshi L. Jarkiholi, are contesting on the Congress and BJP ticket respectively.

This is the first time that two brothers are contesting against each other in Belgaum district.

Apparently, the Jarkiholi family belonging to Nayak community (Scheduled Tribe), which holds sway in Belgaum taluk, is in for power struggle.

The simmering differences among the five brothers with the former Minister, Satish Jarkiholi, MLC, placed against the former Minister, Balachandra L. Jarkiholi, two-time MLA Ramesh L. Jarkiholi, Bhimshi L. Jarkiholi and Lakhan L. Jarkiholi, has weakened the latter camp.

Mr. Bhimshi could not put up with the dominating nature of his brothers and joined hands with Mr. Satish two years ago.

Since then, he has been trying to contest against Mr. Ramesh in Gokak and has managed to get the BJP ticket this time.

The BJP, which is keen on fielding “winnable” candidates, had no hesitation in giving the ticket to Mr. Bhimshi.

The constituency has been traditionally a Congress bastion as its candidates have won in all but two in the last 11 elections held since 1957.

The Congress lost to the Janata Party in 1983 and again in 1985 and once to the Janata Dal in the 1994 elections.

There is a saying in Belgaum district that the Jarkiholi brothers contest elections not to win but to create records.

Mr. Ramesh, who contested for the first time in 1999, was elected with a margin of 56,956 against the runner-up Nayak Chandrashekhar of the Janata Dal(S) then.

Mr. Ramesh had obtained 72,888 votes against the 15,932 of Mr. Chandrashekhar of the 1,04,725 votes polled (total votes in the constituency then was 1,47,988).

Although he maintained the track record in the 2004 elections by winning for the second time, the victory margin fell to 16,175 votes; he received 56,768 votes while the runner-up M.L. Muttennavar of the BJP obtained 40,593 votes of the 1,02,856 votes polled then (total votes 1,50,767).

Mr. Muttennavar was elected twice in 1983 and 1985 as the Janata Party candidate and later joined the BJP.

This time, as two Jarkiholi brothers fight each other, the Janata Dal(S) candidate, Mr. Pujari, who considers himself a “dark horse”, is hoping to benefit from the division in the votes of the Scheduled Tribes and support from the Lingayats. Besides, he is expecting support from the Backward Classes and Brahmins.

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Ramesh pulls off a hat-trick of sorts in this election. Or if Mr. Pujari upsets the applecart of the Jarkiholis.


The district administration, which is aware of the money and muscle power wielded by the Jarkiholis, has deployed an additional company of Central Reserve Police Force as against three companies to be stationed in each of the 18 constituencies in the district.

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