Belagavi: Satish Jarkiholi state Excise minister, who has backed Mr. Siddaramaiah strongly in the past, tendered his resignation as Cabinet Minister on Tuesday.
The development comes at a time when the Chief Minister has been consistently under pressure from his own partymen over Cabinet portfolios, and the Opposition parties over the Arkvathi denotification issue.
Mr. Jarkiholi, who was reportedly not happy with the Excise portfolio, had been requesting for a change.
In what was seen as a hint of things to come, he was not present at the Belagavi airport on Sunday to greet Mr. Siddaramaiah.
Mr. Siddaramaiah had told presspersons at Kundargi in Gokak taluk, at a private function on Sunday, that he was unaware of the absence of Mr. Jarkiholi and that his request for a change could be addressed during the impending Cabinet reshuffle.
On January 3, minister had announced in Bengaluru that he was unhappy with the Excise portfolio. It is said he had no power to do much in the department as the Karnataka Beverages Corporation was vested with the authority to take all the major decisions, including regarding issuance of permits. He had said that the portfolio did not allow him to mingle with the people.
The 51-year-old Satish belongs to an affluent business family in Belagavi. Till recently, he was the director of Satish Sugars company. Siddaramaiah had faced embarrassment recently when Satish had said that sugar factories were charitable organisations. He had said this in the backdrop of farmers’ representatives and the opposition parties demanding the intervention of the government to ensure sugar factories cleared the dues of sugar cane growers.
The minister was also under immense pressure from the chief minister that he should get factories to pay the arrears of last year.
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