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AIPJD candidates win top posts in Gulbarga Zilla Panchayat

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THE WINNERS: The new Gulbarga Zilla Panchayat President, Yellappa B. Kurkunde, and the panchayat Vice-President, Raja Hanumappa Naik, addressing the general body after the election in Gulbarga on Friday. Deputy Commissioner Anjum Parvez, who conduc ted the elections, is seen.
THE WINNERS: The new Gulbarga Zilla Panchayat President, Yellappa B. Kurkunde, and the panchayat Vice-President, Raja Hanumappa Naik, addressing the general body after the election in Gulbarga on Friday. Deputy Commissioner Anjum Parvez, who conduc ted the elections, is seen.

Special Correspondent

Janata Dal (S), BJP and AIPJD agree to share power

Congress is the largest party with 25 seats in the 65-member panchayatThe winners romped home with a margin of 10 votes eachYellappa Bhimanna Kurkunde defeated Nitin Guttedar and Raja Hanumappa Naik won over Lalithabai Veerappa The AIPJD will be in power for the first 20 months followed by the BJP for the next 20 monthsThe Janata Dal (S) will rule the panchayat in the last 20 months of the term

GULBARGA: The Congress suffered a defeat in the Gulbarga Zilla Panchayat losing out both the president and vice-president posts to the All India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD) candidates supported by the Janata Dal (S), the BJP and independents in the elections held here on Friday.

The Congress, which was in power in the previous zilla panchayat body with a majority, had emerged the largest party with 25 seats of the 65 in the panchayat. But the Congress, which had to muster eight more votes to gain simple majority to win the two posts, could manage to get the support of only two (AIPJD) members and lost the elections.

The victory of the two AIPJD candidates, Yellappa Bhimanna Kurkunde, as the panchayat president and Raja Hanumappa Naik as the vice-president, turned out to be a personal victory for the Surpur MLA, Raju Gowda, who shifted his allegiance as an associate member of the Congress to the AIPJD on the eve of the elections after the Congress failed to allot party ticket to his supporters.

Mr. Raju Gowda, who has now joined the Janata Dal (S) as its associate member, successfully bargained with the Janata Dal (S) and BJP leadership to accommodate his supporters in the two posts in return for his support to the formation of the Janata Dal (S)-BJP Government in the State.

Although Mr. Yellappa and Mr. Naik officially continue to be the members of the AIPJD, they and five AIPJD members, who were elected from Surpur taluk, have made known their intention to join the Janata Dal (S).

This was also indicative of the voting pattern with the seven AIPJD members elected from Surpur voting with the Janata Dal (S) and the BJP, while two of the three AIPJD members voting for the Congress candidates in the elections.

The third AIPJD member, Mallinath B. Patil, who has been elected from Madanahipparga constituency in Aland taluk, did not turn up.

While Mr. Yellappa, an agriculturist and businessman having a fertilizer outlet in Surpur, defeated Nitin Guttedar, younger brother of the former Minister, Mallikayya Guttedar, by a margin of 10 votes in the election to the post of the panchayat president, Mr. Raja Hanumappa Naik, a BA graduate and agriculturist, defeated Lalithabai Veerappa of the Congress with the same margin.

While the winners received the support of 37 members of the 64 present in the house, the Congress candidates could muster only 27 votes.

The two independents, including a BJP rebel candidate, Udaykumar C. Patil, and Bharati elected from Nelogi constituency in Jewargi with the support of the BJP and the AIPJD, respectively supported the AIPJD candidates in the elections. According to the power sharing arrangement worked out between the breakaway AIPJD members, Janata Dal (S) and the BJP, while the first term of 20 months would be with the AIPJD breakaway group, the second term would be given to the BJP candidates.

The Janata Dal (S) would enjoy the third term.

Mr. Yellappa and Mr. Naik in their address thanked the members for electing them and said they would lay stress on rural development, roads, drinking water and rural sanitation during their tenure.

The following is the party position in the panchayat: total members 65; Congress 25, Janata Dal (S) 21, AIPJD 10, BJP seven, independents two.

Deputy Commissioner Anjum Parvez, who was returning officer, conducted the elections. Senior officials, including panchayat Chief Executive Officer Pankajkumar Pandey, and Assistant Commissioner Ramesh Begar, were present.

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