Official and rebel BJP members did not attend meeting

In a dramatic turn of events, election to the posts of president and vice-president of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat, which was scheduled for Thursday, got postponed to October 12 owing to lack of quorum.

The zilla panchayat has 25 members. Of them, the ruling BJP has 16. But eight of these 16 members owing allegiance to the former Kundapur MLA Halady Srinivas Shetty, rebelled recently and formed a separate group. They wanted to avenge the insult meted out to Mr. Srinivas Shetty, who was not inducted into the Cabinet of Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar. The Opposition Congress has nine members.

Upendra Nayak (official BJP candidate), K. Babu Shetty and Prakash T. Mendon (rebel BJP) and Diwakar Kundar (Congress) have filed their nomination papers for the post of president, while Indira Shetty (official BJP), Mamata R. Shetty (rebel BJP) and Supreeta D. Shetty (Congress) have filed their papers for the post of vice-president.

But when the meeting to conduct election to the two posts began at 3 p.m., only nine members of the Opposition Congress were present. Neither the eight members of the BJP nor the eight rebel BJP members attended the meeting.

As per rules, at least 50 per cent of members of the panchayat should be present at a meeting for a quorum. In this case, the presence of 12 members was required.

As there was no quorum at 3 p.m., M.V. Jayanti, Divisional Commissioner, who came to oversee the election, said that as per rules, the panchayat should wait for 30 more minutes. But none of the members of the BJP turned up during this period.

At 3.30 p.m., Ms. Jayanti announced the postponement of the meeting to October 12. Ms. Jayanti told presspersons that the process of election would be continued on October 12. The papers filed by four members for the post of president and three members for the post of vice-president would remain valid. No new nomination papers would be received for the election on October 12. Only scrutiny of nomination papers filed on Thursday and withdrawal of papers would be allowed on October 12.

The outgoing president of the zilla panchayat, Katapady Shankar Poojary, would remain in power till October 8, when his term would end. Chairman of the ZP Standing Committee on Social Justice Upendra Nayak would function as president of the zilla panchayat and remain in power till October 12, she said.