Having threatened to quit as an MLA, “upset” at the way he has been treated by a section of the party, influential BJP legislator Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was forced to resign as state Water Resources Minister in March this year after a woman raised allegations of sexual assault against him, is seen as making renewed attempts to get back into the B S Yediyurappa government.
The cases filed by the woman, and an extortion complaint filed by Jarkiholi as a counter of sorts, are meanwhile still under police investigation.
The MLA from Gokak, in Belagavi district, has over the past few weeks met former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, an influential Lingayat seer in Karnataka, and an RSS leader in Belagavi — all part of what is seen as an effort to push for his return to the state Cabinet.
He is also citing contributions made for a BJP victory in Belagavi Lok Sabha bypolls on April 17 — where Gokak constituency gave the BJP candidate vital votes to eke out a narrow win — to make his return.
Jarkiholi, who had alleged that he was ousted as minister by rivals within and outside the party, has admitted that he is seeking the help of the former Maharashtra CM. He had said recently, “Devendra Fadnavis is my godfather. I will not hide anything from him. I have given him all the information.”
He has also said, “It is true that I have been upset and am considering quitting politics, but some people have advised me to wait for seven to eight days before deciding on anything. I have decided to be patient on their advice.”
Following an air dash to Mysuru last week to meet the Lingayat seer of Suttur Mutt, Jarkiholi had said: “The BJP at the Centre, the state, and the RSS have treated me with a lot of love and respect. I was in the Congress for 20 years but the kind of respect and confidence this party has shown towards me was not shown anywhere else. I will not betray this party. There is no question of going back to Congress; BJP will return to power in the state in 2023.”
Jarkiholi had quit as a state minister “on moral grounds” on March 3 after a video of an alleged sexual assault emerged in public domain; he had dismissed the allegations as being “far from the truth” and had sought an investigation.