Belagavi: After the humiliating defeat in the Legislative Council polls in Belagavi, the ruling BJP leaders are upset and contemplating strict action against former minister Ramesh Jarakiholi, who lost his cabinet post after an alleged sex CD scandal came to light. Ramesh is accused of helping his brother Lakhan Jarakiholi who contested as an independent candidate in the elections.
Former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday stated that the party will probe the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in Belagavi. “The party would look into the issue to know what actually contributed to the defeat of the BJP candidate,” he underlined.
Sources in the BJP said that Ramesh, who is aspiring to get a cabinet berth, has reached a dead end in the party. The BJP has failed to attain a majority by one seat in the 75-member council. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai after learning that matters were going against the party had visited Belagavi twice and publicly called upon Ramesh to ensure the victory of BJP candidate Mahantesh Kavatagi Math.
Ramesh had publicly vowed to defeat the Congress candidate Channaraja Hattiholi who is the brother of Belagavi Rural Congress MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar, his reportedly sworn political enemy. However, Channaraja won handsomely in first preference votes. BJP candidate Kavatagi Math could not make it through in the counting of the second preference votes as well.
Belagavi is regarded as the bastion of the BJP. The defeat, despite the party having 13 MLAs, 2 MPs and one Rajya Sabha member from the district, has caused severe embarrassment to it.
Ramesh, speaking after the defeat, maintained that things changed in the last three days. “I am being instructed by top leaders of the party and Sangh not to open my mouth on leaders who are responsible for the defeat of the BJP,” he said.
Opposition leader Siddaramaiah had called out Chief Minister Bommai for initiating action against Ramesh. Reacting to this, Ramesh called Siddaramaiah a ‘waste body’ who could not win his own assembly seat in the last elections. Siddaramaiah reacted that Ramesh lacked etiquette and he did not want to respond to his attacks on him.