Fault lines of the politics of Belagavi district, which triggered dissidence that eventually toppled the erstwhile JD(S)–Congress coalition government, seems to have been the trigger for dissidence this time too.
On Thursday, eight-time MLA from Belagavi district Umesh Katti hosted what he described as a “casual dinner meet”, which has yet again triggered rumours of rebellion. He has for long been unhappy over being not inducted into the State Cabinet.
“Despite being one of the senior-most MLAs, Mr. Umesh Katti has inexplicably been left out, even as Laxman Savadi, who lost the 2018 Assembly polls, has been made Deputy Chief Minister. Ramesh Jarkiholi and Shrimant Patil, who joined the BJP recently, besides Shashikala Jolle — all of them from Belagavi district — have been made Ministers. Mr. Umesh Katti feels he alone has been given the short shrift,” said a senior BJP leader.
The Chief Minister is known to have promised Mr. Umesh Katti that he will be made a Minister.
RS ticket demand
Now, however, Mr. Katti has a new demand — his brother Ramesh Katti be given ticket to contest the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for June. “I have sought a Rajya Sabha ticket for my brother. I will wait and watch as to what the party will say,” Mr. Umesh Katti announced. The Chief Minister, however, is said to have asked him to choose either a ministerial berth for himself or ticket to the Upper House polls for his brother, reportedly upsetting Mr. Umesh Katti . He is learnt to have pointed out that while Ms. Jolle is a Minister, her husband is a Lok Sabha member from the district.
Katti brothers’ denial
The Katti brothers, however, continued to deny that they are behind any “rebellion”.
Earlier, Belagavi politics had spelt trouble for the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Mr. Jarkiholi, then Congress MLA from the district, led the rebellion against the previous Congress–JD(S) coalition government. He and two other MLAs from the district joined the BJP and all three of them won the byelections and two of them are now Ministers. Ironically, it is this overwhelming presence of Belagavi MLAs in the Yediyurappa Ministry that is creating problems now for the BJP.
Mr. Umesh Katti, who was earlier in the JD(S), defected to the BJP in 2008 through ‘operation lotus’ and was made a Minister. He is now upset that he has not found a berth in the Cabinet owing to other leaders, including new defectors, being accommodated.