Incumbent MLA from the Gokak constituency in Belagavi district, Ramesh Jarkhioli is looking for a seventh win on a BJP ticket in the Karnataka assembly election 2023. He had a significant role in the collapse of the JD(S)-Congress government in 2019, making way for the BJP to come to power in the state.
Ramesh won the Gokak seat for the first time in 1999 on a Congress ticket and for the five consecutive terms since 2004. In 2009, he left Congress to join BJP and was re-elected in the by-election.
He was among 17 MLAs who defected from Congress to BJP in 2019 and is considered to have spearheaded the defection. He resigned as a minister in BS Yediyurappa’s cabinet in 2021 ‘on moral grounds’ after an alleged sex-for-job scandal.
Eldest among five brothers, Ramesh’s brothers Satish Jarkiholi and Balachandra Jarkiholi are MLAs from Congress in Yemkanmardi seat and from BJP in Arabhavi seat, respectively.
Ramesh belongs to a one of the sugar baron families in the state. Ahead of the elections, a police complaint has been lodged against the elder Jarkiholi brother over his remarks on January 22, when he allegedly announced in Belagavi that the BJP would pay ₹6,000 to every voter.
However, the BJP has reposed confidence in the oldest Jarhikholi. The Jarkiholi family dominates the Gokak, Yemkarnamadi, and Arabhavi areas, considered a stronghold of the Dalit community.
The party high command has approved the candidature of sitting legislators Mahesh Kumathalli (Athani), Shrimanth Patil (Kagwad), Nagesh Mannolkar (Belagavi Rural), Chikka Revanna (Ramdurg), Vittal Halagekar (Khanapur) and Jagadish Gudagunti (Jamkhandi), all of whom were endorsed by Ramesh Jarkiholi.