Disqualified Karnataka MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi to Contest Against Brother Lakhan for Gokak Bypoll Seat

Bengaluru: The byelection to Gokak constituency in Belagavi district in Karnataka on December 5 will witness a contest between two brothers from the politically influential Jarkiholi family. Ramesh Jarkiholi, eldest of the five brothers will contest on a BJP ticket against his youngest brother Lakhan Jarkiholi, who will file his nomination on a Congress ticket on Monday.

Ramesh Jarakiholi is one of the 17 disqualified MLAs who had defected from Congress-JDS alliance leading to the fall of the HD Kumaraswamy government.

Bypolls to 15 of the 17 seats is scheduled for 5th December. Out of these, 13 will have disqualified MLAs.

Ramesh expressed his unhappiness over his brother Satish contesting the bypoll. “Lakhan has stabbed me from behind. He worked with me all these years. Till December 5 he is not my brother. We are opponents. He is my younger brother only after that. This is all the doing of Sathish," Ramesh Jarkiholi said.

Meanwhile, Lakhan said that they are political opponents and must proceed that way. "We are not one. We are opponents and people must see us that way. Anyone who says we are one should not be trusted. It is his brothers-in-law who backstabbed him and he did the same to Sathish and Siddaramaiah," said Lakhan.

However, this is not the first time the Jarkiholi brothers are contesting for different parties. The five brothers - Ramesh, Sathish, Balachandra, Bhimsi and Lakhan Jarkiholi - have contested and won on BJP, Congress and JDS tickets at some point of time. But it is for the first time in a decade that the two brothers are standing for an election against each other.

Ramesh, Satish and Lakhan were with the Congress until Ramesh defected to the BJP in July this year. Sathish followed former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to the Congress from the JDS and was a minister in the Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy governments. Balachandra Jarkiholi was with the JDS until 2013 when he switched to the BJP. Bhimsi contested against Ramesh in Gokak in 2008 but lost.

The brothers' membership in all major parties in Karnataka ensured a place for the family in every cabinet.

However, for the first time in fifteen years, the Jarkiholi family did not find a place in the BS Yediyurappa cabinet after he expanded it in August this year. Ramesh hopes to grab a seat in this cabinet if he wins from Gokak this time too.

59-year old Ramesh is a five-time MLA and has won from Gokak with comfortable margins in the past but this time he will fight against his brother who used to back him in earlier elections.