Was offered Rs 30 crore, cabinet berth by BJP: Congress MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar


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Published: 29/09/2018

by www.belgaumonline.com

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Pushed to a corner by the state Congress leadership after the recent tussle with the Jarkiholi brothers, Belagavi Rural MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar on Friday sought to assert her position in the party by claiming that she had got feelers from the BJP. “I was offered Rs 30 crore in cash and a cabinet berth by the BJP leadership which attempted to rope me in as part of Operation Lotus,’’ she declared. Her ‘disclosure’ comes at a time when the cabinet expansion is round the corner. 

Speaking to reporters in Belagavi, Laxmi said BJP leaders made the offer of money and a cabinet post to her over phone when she was in Hyderabad recently. She also said she had flatly denied BJP’s ‘offer’, making it clear that she will never quit the Congress party under any circumstances, but declined to divulge details about her talks with the BJP leaders. She added that she had brought the issue to the notice of Congress leadership.

However, her refusal to name the BJP leaders has created a flutter in the political circles. Rajya Sabha member Prabhakar Kore dared her to reveal the names of BJP leaders who reportedly made the offer of money and a cabinet berth to her.

‘Hebbalkar’s veiled threat to her party’

Soon after Hebbalkar's group won the election to the post of  PLD Bank president in Belagavi recently, defeating the group headed by minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and his brother Satish, the duo had threatened to topple the coalition government.

The entire Congress and JD(S) leadership had then rallied behind the Jarkiholis. Under pressure, the Congress leadership ceded to their demands which included keeping minister D K Shivakumar out of Belagavi politics and warning Laxmi to remain confined to her constituency. The brothers had alleged that Laxmi wielded power in Belagavi at the behest of Shivakumar.

Since then, she has been ignored by the party and the Jarkiholis are back to dominating Belagavi politics. It is said that the transfer of deputy commissioner S Ziyaulla and many top officers of the district have been done at the behest of the Jarkiholis.

Sources in Congress said Laxmi chose to reveal about BJP 'offer' only to send a strong signal to her party that she too is capable of making a difference in Belagavi with massive political support.She has earlier made her ambitions of becoming a minister and a member of Parliament known.With cabinet expansion happening soon, Hebbalkar has issued a veiled threat to her party, warning them against taking her for granted, they pointed out.

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