Congress leader and Local Bodies Minister from Karnataka, Ramesh Jarkiholi is in news all over again for an unusual reason that he gave for not attending cabinet meetings. While addressing the media on Saturday, the sugar baron from Belagavi district in Karnataka said,
"I've not attended five cabinet meetings. I've decided not to attend until my prayers are answered by God. Sometimes when we pray to god, we don't use our bikes or skip some activities until our prayers are answered, this also is that way. I will abstain from cabinet meetings in the future as well. I'm a very religious man and ours is a pious country. Ministries come and go but for me religion (dharma) is important."
The Karnataka minister's statement has implicitly meant that all is not well between him and the Congress party. Also, Ramesh's brazen statement for not attending the cabinet meeting has stirred a political storm.
Recently, Congress MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi and his brother Satish Jarkiholi were in the news for the decision of the duo to fly to Mumbai with other Congress MLAs because their demands were not met by the party. Rumours had it that one of the Jarkiholi brothers would jump shift to the BJP along with some MLAs as his demands were dismissed. The drama ensued till Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy met the disgruntled brothers and convinced them against any hasty decisions.
The Congress high command took stock of the situation and even issued a warning saying anti-party activities will not be entertained. Although, the brothers maintained after the meeting that all issues were sorted out. But the current situation seems far from being sorted out.
"The statement given by honourable minister Ramesh Jarkiholi is very clear. He said that there is nothing more important than god. It's his personal opinion but I think he should have attended the cabinet meetings. He could have some personal issues", said, state spokesperson from the JD(S), Arivalagan.
The inner power tussle within the Congress party is also said to be one of the reasons that's upset the Jarkiholis. Congress MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar's rise within the party ranks and her tiff off with the duo is said to have hurt them the most.
The BJP lashed out at the government for minister Ramesh Jarkiholi's remark.
"This statement of Mr.Jharkiholi exposes how dysfunctional the Kumaraswamy Govt is, where a minister doesn't attend cabinet meetings. The internal conflict in the Congress party in Belgaum is taking a toll on Governance in the State. After nearly 5 months high time the differences amongst the coalition members is sorted.", said Malavika Avinash, BJP spokesperson.
Interestingly, CM Kumaraswamy will be expanding his cabinet shortly and the Jarkiholis are eagerly waiting to learn if they're expectations are met. But, with Lok Sabha polls around the corner, a mutiny within the Congress could certainly dash its hopes of retaining power in the state.