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BJP’s strength increases in Shimoga Zilla Panchayat

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‘Welcome’: Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa with leaders who joined the BJP in Shimoga on Sunday.
‘Welcome’: Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa with leaders who joined the BJP in Shimoga on Sunday.

Special Correspondent

Three members of Congress and one SP member join the party

SHIMOGA: The Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to come to power in the 31-member Shimoga Zilla Panchayat, with several members elected on Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Janata Dal (Secular) ticket joining its fold.

On Sunday, three members of panchayat belonging to the Congress and one member belonging to the SP joined the BJP at a function here. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa welcomed them formally into the party fold.

Those who joined the BJP were: chairman of the standing committee on education and health H.C. Basavarajappa, chairman of the standing committee on agriculture and industry V.L. Aravind and B.R. Jayanth, all from the Congress, and Shantaveer Naik from the SP.

It was expected that president of the zilla panchayat Chandrakumar, of the Congress, and former president of the panchayat Sharada Purya Naik of the Janata Dal (S) would also join the BJP on Sunday. But they put off their plan following an appeal made by leaders of their respective parties against taking “any hasty decision”.

They are likely to join the BJP in the next phase of “Operation Lotus”, expected to take place shortly, according to sources in the BJP.

With this development, the BJP is short of one seat to come to power in the panchayat. The strength of the BJP in the panchayat has risen to 15, while that of the Congress, SP and Janata Dal (S) has been reduced to six, three and seven respectively. The BJP will assume power in the zilla panchayat by May-end when reservation policy for key posts of the panchayat for the remaining 20-month term would be announced.

President of the district unit of the SP Fayaz, former president of the Shimoga District Cooperative Central Bank Channaveerappa Gowda also joined the BJP.

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