Belagavi: Laxmi Hebbalkar, Satish Jarkiholi feud takes a turn for the worse

Belagavi: The simmering differences between AICC secretary and former minister Satish Jarkiholi and president of the state Congress Women's Cell Laxmi Hebbalkar seem to be turning worse and the latter could face a fierce rebellion within the party in Belagavi Rural assembly segment where she is contesting this time. To defeat Ms Hebbalkar, a group of close associates of Jarkiholi have switched to the JD(S) and one of them has been named as the JD(S) candidate against her. And now, Jarkiholi himself is getting active in Belagavi rural segment hosting meal sessions and holding various activities which many in the Congress feel, could jeopardise Hebbalkar's prospects. After losing the elections to the Lok Sabha and Assembly last time owing to rebel activity, Ms Hebbalkar is once again facing the threat of a massive rebellion. The hectic campaign she launched in the constituency after losing the last assembly election, could be of no use if the party fails to iron out her differences with Jarkiholi. In the past few months, she has been touring every nook and corner of her constituency to reach out to every voter. Ms Hebbalkar is so confident of her victory that she feels none of the conspiracies hatched by the rebels could damage her prospects. But a few thousands votes which Congress rebel Anand Gaddadevarmath had bagged in the last Assembly polls, resulted in her loss. An associate of Jarkiholi, Shivangouda Patil, a former APMC chairman and senior leader of the Congress, has entered the fray this time and is sure to grab a share of Ms Hebbalkar's votes.

What has irked the Hebbalkar group is the way Jarkiholi is offering meals to people of Belagavi Rural segment instead of his own Yamakanmardi constituency on the occasion of Shivarathri. A video clip showing a group of Jarkiholi supporters in Belagavi rural segment holding a closed-door meeting to work out strategies to prevent votes from going to Ms Hebbalkar, has turned viral on social media. Jarkiholi's supporters also also reportedly telling voters not to get carried away by gifts being distributed by her for votes and urge them to support those who are pro-development instead. According to sources, several members from the Zilla Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat are also working against Ms Hebbalkar by joining hands with Jarkiholi even after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah himself made an appeal to voters in her constituency during a public rally a few months ago that Hebbalkar was the party's candidate and people should support her. 

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