Special Correspondent

GULBARGA: At least seven persons were injured, three of three seriously, in a clash between supporters of the former MLAs Raja Venkatappa Naik and Raju Gowda of the Congress, near Naikal in Shahpur taluk in Gulbarga district on Wednesday.

All the injured have been admitted to the Government General Hospital at Yadgir. Tension prevailed in Yadgir town and Surpur taluk following the clash.

Incidents of stone-throwing were reported in Surpur after news of the clash reached the town, forcing shop-keepers to down shutters. The Surpur tahsildar has imposed prohibitory orders as a precautionary measure in Surpur town.

Superintendent of Police Manish Kharbikar has rushed to Surpur with additional forces. Mr. Raju Gowda, who had defeated Raja Venkatappa Naik in the last Assembly elections fighting on the Kannada Nadu ticket, recently joined the Congress along with the former Deputy Chief Minister M.P. Prakash and others. Both Mr. Raju Gowda and Mr. Raja Venkatappa Naik are aspirants for the Congress ticket from Surpur Assembly constituency, which is now reserved for the Scheduled Tribes. According to reports reaching here, trouble started over a minor incident after the bus carrying supporters of Mr. Raju Gowda did not give way to the vehicles carrying the supporters of Mr. Raja Venkatappa Naik who were coming after meeting the party observers Sageer Ahmed and Puttaswamy, camping in Yadgir town.

Meanwhile, Mr. Raju Gowda, who had come to Yadgir to meet the party observers to stake claim for the party ticket, began a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police in Yadgir along with his supporters demanding the immediate arrest of Mr. Raja Venkatappa Naik and his supporters.

Ex-MLA held

Mr. Raja Venkatappa Naik and eight others were arrested on Wednesday night at Surpur. The arrests have been made apparently based on the complaint filed by Mr. Raju Gowda.

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