Special Correspondent

Bangalore: The Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly M. Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday charged that misuse of power and money by the Bharatiya Janata Party had led to the defeat of the Congress candidates in the three byelections to the Legislative Council.

Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Kharge, however, said that the members of the zilla panchayats and local bodies should have shown their displeasure over the failure of the administration in the State by rejecting the BJP candidates. He said that the results were not a reflection of the mood of the people, which could be gauged only in the Lok Sabha elections. The Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council V.S. Ugrappa said the Government had tried to intimidate the members that it was planning to wind up taluk panchayats and it would constitute village committees replacing the grama sabha, and had forced them to vote for the ruling party candidates.

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When his attention was drawn to the public call by Visvesha Teertha Swamiji of Udupi Pejawar Math to the Dalits not to embrace Buddhism or other religions and stay as Hindus or join Arya Samaj, if they could not continue in a society which still observed untouchability, Mr. Kharge said that the swamiji had a right to give his views.

He said that there were divergent views among the Congress leaders about having an understanding with the Janata Dal (Secular) in the State, to avoid a split in the secular votes and helps communal forces. When asked for his views on the issue, he said that he would accept whatever decision taken by the party high command.

The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Working President D.K. Shivakumar also alleged that power and money played an important role in the council elections, and that the results could not be seen as barometer to gauge the mood of the people.

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