Staff Correspondent

Four of the eight BJP members in the Bidar Zilla Panchayat vote for no-trust motion

This is the second time in 18 months that the BJP has joined hands with the Congress

Bidar: Infighting in Bidar district BJP has led to the Janata Dal(S)-BJP coalition losing power in the Bidar Zilla Panchayat. Four of the eight BJP members in the zilla panchayat voted for the no-confidence motion moved by the Congress, against the ruling alliance on Monday.

This is the second time in 18 months that the BJP has joined hands with the Congress to vote out the alliance.

The JD(S) and the BJP came together to form the alliance in the zilla panchayat, even before the alliance came to power at the State level. In the 31-member house, the Congress has 12 and the JD(S) and BJP have eight each. There was a Bahujan Samaj Party member, an All India Progressive Janata Dal candidate and another independent.

The terms of alliance were that the JD(S) and the BJP would share power and keep the Congress out. It was also decided that Anil Bhusare of the JD(S) would hold the post of the panchayat president and Jyoti Charan Rathod of the BJP would be elected panchayat vice-president. After 10 months, these two would resign and pave way for a panchayat president from the BJP and a panchayat vice-president from the JD(S).

However, three BJP members of the Gundappa Vakil faction sided with the Congress to unseat the panchayat president and the vice-president just after seven months of their swearing-in. Mr. Vakil’s daughter Meenakshi Sangram, who headed the coup, said it was to settle scores with her other colleagues in the party.

She alleged that members of the other faction had not supported her bid for presidentship of the panchayat standing committee earlier. “Don’t they remember that they sided with the Congress then,” she had said then.

Then, the State leadership of the two parties met and ensured peace. They asked members of their parties to re-elect Mr. Bhusare and Ms. Rathod. And the pact worked. The re-election was smooth. However, the JD(S) did not transfer power after 10 months. Some BJP leaders accused Agriculture Minister and JD(S) leader Bandeppa Kashempur of delaying the transfer of power. He said his party was ready to do so long ago, but the BJP State leadership had not sought it.

After 10 months of the first no-confidence motion, Ms. Sangram and three BJP members voted for the no-confidence motion moved by the Congress. Members of the Vakil faction have said this was necessary to ensure that the JD(S) vacated the position. The dates of the election of the panchayat president are not announced as yet and it is not known whether the Congress will stake claim for the post with BJP support. It is also not clear if Ms. Sangram’s ambition of becoming the panchayat president is behind her decision to support the motion.

Party sources say that Mr. Vakil had agreed to a suggestion by the senior leadership that Ms. Sangram would be made the panchayat president if she supported the JD(S)-BJP alliance for 20 months.