Rebel Congress MLA Jarkiholi meets Kumathalli, fuels speculations

Bengaluru: Rebel Congress MLA in Karnataka Ramesh Jarkiholi who has been hobnobbing with the BJP met Mahesh Kumathalli, his close confidant, yesterday. The meeting between the two created fresh speculation about them quitting the party.

Jarkiholi had threatened that he along with other MLAs would soon resign en masse from the Congress, causing fear among the ruling coalition (Congress-JD(S)) leaders, because it would trigger the numbers game in the State assembly.

On the other hand there were reports that several legislators who are considered close to him – Shrimant Patil of Kagawad and Mahesh Kumathalli and B Nagendra of Bellary – have pledged their loyalty to Congress and would be deserting Ramesh in his attempt to mobilise Congress.

However, meeting between Jarkiholi and Kumathalli fueled the speculation that the MLAs are still together and working out a strategy post the Lok Sabha election results on 23 May. Jarkiholi had on Tuesday met with BJP leader and former MLA C P Yogeshwar.

Kumathalli said they had only discussed about water scarcity in the region during the meeting and would remain in the party.

Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah opined that Ramesh Jarkiholi would not quit the Congress. Jarkiholi also did not campaign for Congress candidates during the Lok Sabha polls and even stayed away from Rahul Gandhi’s events, while Kumathalli took part in campaign activities.

NT Bureau