Staff Correspondent

Authority of L.L. Ustad in inviting applications for party tickets questioned

BIJAPUR: The ensuing civic elections appear to have brought the infighting in Congress to the fore once again, if the statements made by some senior leaders of the party are of any indication.

The statement issued by brother of former Minister late M.L. Ustad, L.L. Ustad, that the aspirants for the party tickets in all 35 wards of the city can submit applications to him, has stirred the hornet nest in the party.

Gulappa Shetgar, former municipal president, M.M. Sutar, party’s unsuccessful candidate from the city in 1994 Assembly election, and a few other leaders have questioned the authority of Mr. L.L. Ustad in inviting applications from the aspirants.

According to Mr. Shetgar, there are three block committees of the party within Bijapur city. While he heads the Jalanagar block committee, the Jorapurpet block committee is headed by Sandhya Heralagi. Mr. L.L. Ustad was president of the city central block committee twice, and his second term ended a year ago, he said.

According to the party’s bylaw, if a person serves two consecutive terms as president of a block committee he or she cannot continue for the third term.

In a joint statement Mr. Shetgar and Mr. Sutar have asked Mr. L.L. Ustad to show if he had any letter from the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) authorising him to select candidates for the civic elections. If at all Mr. L.L. Ustad was still the head of the block committee, he could not speak for the wards coming under the other two block committees, they said.

Meanwhile, according to sources, both Mr. L.L. Ustad and the rival group have decided to take up the issue with the KPCC leaders.

In fact, Mr. L.L. Ustad dominated the party politics in the city especially after his brother won the 1999 election and became a Minister.

Ever since the death of M.L. Ustad early this year, Mr. L.L. Ustad has been trying to project himself as the “real heir” of the former. However, the open challenge by senior colleagues appears to have delivered serious blow to his effort. Notably, many of his followers have joined hands with the rival group.