Takes over Karnataka's biggest zilla panchayat, 10 taluk panchayats
The Bharatiya Janata Party registered a stunning electoral feat by sweeping elections to both the Belgaum Zilla Panchayat and 10 taluk panchayats in the district, the polling for which was held on December 31. The votes were counted on Tuesday.
The BJP not only wrested the prestigious Belgaum ZP, the biggest in Karnataka, but also established its absolute majority in the 86-member House; it emerged victorious in 63 pockets. The Congress, which controlled the ZP for long, had to be content with mere 17 seats. While the independents were elected from six pockets, the Janata Dal (Secular) failed to make its presence felt.
The BJP swept the ZP polls for all the eight seats in Hukkeri taluk, the home taluk of Agriculture Minister Umesh V. Katti and MP Ramesh V. Katti. The party also won all five seats at Khanapur taluk.
In the taluk panchayat elections, the BJP captured 225 of the total 336 seats and is poised to take control of all the 10 TPs in the district. The Congress managed to win in only 71 pockets and JD(S) in 13. Others, including those affiliated to the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi, were elected from 27 seats, the Bahujan Samaj Party opened its account in Raibag Taluk Panchayat by winning one seat.
Taluk-wise results for ZP polls, with total seats in brackets:
Belgaum (10): BJP-3, Congress-2, independents-5; Hukkeri (8): BJP-8; Khanapur (6), BJP-5, independent-1; Athani (11), BJP-9, Congress-2; Raibag (8), BJP-7, Congress-1; Chikkodi (12), BJP-7, Congress-5; Savadatti (7), BJP-6, Congress-1; Gokak (11), BJP-7, Congress-4; Ramdurg (5), BJP-5.
Taluk-wise results for TP polls, with total seats in brackets:
Belgaum (40): BJP-14, Congress-8, independents-18; Hukkeri (31): BJP-25, Congress-3, JD(S)-3; Khanapur (23): BJP-18, Congress-1, independents-4; Athani (43): BJP-33, Congress-10; Raibag (32): BJP-22, Congress-8, JD(S)-1, BSP-1; Chikkodi (46): BJP-28, Congress-15, independents-3; Bailhongal (32): BJP-24, Congress-6, JD(S)-2; Savadatti (28): BJP23,Congress-5; Gokak (41): BJP-20, Congress-13, JD(S)-7, independent-1; Ramdurg (20): BJP-18, Congress-2.
Amruta Patil, wife of the former vice-president of Belgaum ZP Pankaj Kumar Patil, won from her home constituency Kugnoli of Chikkodi taluk; Ganesh Hukkeri, son of the former Minister and Congress leader Prakash B. Hukkeri, MLA, won from Majari in Chikkodi taluk and Jyotiba Remani, son of BJP MLA Prahlad Remani, won from Nandgad in Khanapur taluk.
Pranay Patil, grandson of the former Minister V.L. Patil, who was elected from Ramdurg (rural), won with a thumping victory margin of 12,081 votes.
The two-phased polling held for taluk and zilla panchayats on December 26 and 31 is the first election since the State Government implemented its decision to reserve 50 per cent seats for women. Hence, women members are set to occupy equal or more number of seats in panchayat bodies hereafter.