Laxmi Hebbalkar checkmates Ramesh Jarkiholi in Gokak with Panchamasali-Lingayat card

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BELAGAVI: Incumbent Belgaum Rural MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar seems to have quietly delivered a blow to her bete noir Ramesh Jarkiholi in his Gokak constituency by getting the party to field popular medical practitioner Dr Mahantesh Kadadi.

The Congress is banking heavily on Panchamasali-Lingayat votes in Belagavi district which has the second highest number of Assembly constituencies. The party has so far announced 13 candidates for the 18 Assembly segments in the district of which eight are Lingayats and, among them, six are Panchamasalis.

Laxmi Hebbalkar, who had camped in Delhi to convince the party high command, has managed to get tickets for her candidates in Kittur and Gokak. The party candidate for Kittur is Babasaheb Patil.


Leaders of the Panchamasali community were insistent that the party ticket should go to a member of the community and Laxmi Hebbalkar was successful in ensuring it. It is believed that KPCC working president Satish Jarkiholi was pushing for the candidature of Ashok Poojari.

Ramesh Jarkiholi had been pushing for a BJP ticket for Nagesh Mannolkar to target the Marathi-speaking voters. Now, by getting a Panchamasali-Lingayat candidate against Jarkiholi, Laxmi seems to have checkmated the latter.

The Congress had banked on Panchamasalis during the previous Legislative Council election too and while Prakash Hukkeri was elected from the Northwest Teachers constituency, Laxmi’s brother Channaraj Hattiholi was elected from the local bodies constituencies.

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