Sumangla Gubaji, a BJP member but BSR Congress supporter, was dethroned as president of the Bellary Zilla Panchayat after a no-confidence motion moved by the Congress was passed.

This has given a severe jolt to the BSR Congress’ presence in the zilla panchayat.

The no-confidence motion was put to vote at the special general body meeting convened here on Wednesday with Mamta Suresh, panchayat vice-president, in the chair.

As many as 18 members — 16 from the Congress and one each from the BJP and the JD(S) — voted in favour of the no-confidence motion while 17 members from the BJP, but supporting the BSR Congress, voted against.

Kogali Rathnamma of the BJP, supporting the no-confidence motion, violating the party whip, gave the Congress the needed majority to get its motion passed.

In the 36-member house, 35 were present with one seat lying vacant with the resignation tendered by Bheema Nayak on becoming MLA.

What came as a surprise was that five of the Congress members, who had supported the candidature of Ms. Gubaji, violating the whip issued by the party, were the signatories to the no-confidence motion and also supported it.

Later, while talking to presspersons, Ms. Gubaji merely said that she was unaware of the reason behind the no-confidence motion. “They (Congress) should explain why they lost confidence in me,” she said. Ms. Gubaji denied any pacts between the Congress and BSR Congress to share the president’s post. “There was no agreement I know of. I do not know if the senior leaders of both parties had an understanding in this regard,” she said.

Losing her power had not hurt her, as she hadn’t expected to become president in the first place, Ms. Gubaji added. She also made it clear that her allegiances lay with the BJP. Ms. Suresh will be the acting president of the panchayat until an election is held.