Staff Correspondent

Former Minister Koujalgi deputed to iron out differences

ZP posts election slated for Saturday

Post of zilla panchayat president reserved for woman from Backward Class 2 A category

BIJAPUR: Concerned over the stand taken by rival groups with regard to the election of president and vice-president of the zilla panchayat, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) has deputed former Minister V.S. Koujalgi to iron out differences.

According to District Congress Committee president and former MLA from Sindagi, Sharanappa Sunagar, Mr. Koujalgi will arrive here on Friday. He is scheduled to hold talks with the zilla panchayat members and other leaders of the party.

Reservation

In the second term of 20 months, the post of president is reserved for a woman from Backward Class 2 A category and that of vice-president for general category. The election is slated for Saturday.

The Congress has comfortable majority with 21 members, including an associate member, in the 38-member panchayat.

However, they are divided into two groups.

Candidates

The faction of All India Congress Committee member, M.B. Patil, MLA representing Tikota segment comprising rural areas of Bijapur taluk, and former Minister B.S. Patil Sasanur commands the support of 11 members. The group is projecting Apsara Begum Chapparabandh, representing Nidagundi segment, for the post of president.

On the other hand, the rival faction led by Basavanabagewadi MLA Shivanand Patil and Muddebihal MLA C.S. Nadagouda wants Sangeetha Dinni of Sarwad segment to become president.

Their contention is that Arjun Rathod of the opposite camp was made president in the previous term, so this time a member of their faction (Ms. Dinni) be given a chance.

Representation issue

However, those in Patil-Sasanur camp argue that both Mr. Rathod and vice-president of previous term Shivanagouda Patil are from Bijapur taluk. The Sarwad segment represented by Ms. Dinni falls in Bijapur taluk. So, Ms. Chapparabandh, who is from Basavanabagewadi should be chosen this time, they say. Different caste groups are also at work.

While Muslim leaders in the party are rallying behind Ms. Chapparabandh, the Kuruaba community leaders have been pressuring the party leadership in favour of Ms. Dinni.

Formula

According to sources in the party, the KPCC leadership may decide to divide the 20-month term into two, and give the top post to the aspirants of the two groups on rotation.

The party is expecting more problems with regard to the post of vice-president because it is open for all. The party is likely to adopt the same formula for this post too.

The combined strength of the Janata Dal Secular (12) and the Bharatiya Janata Party in the panchayat is 17, and they too have eligible candidates for the top post.

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