Staff Correspondent

Sharada Bijur of the Congress is Vice-President

They defeated the BJP candidates by one vote Poojary to hold the post only for the first ten months of his tenure Kota Srinivas Poojary has been elected Leader of the Opposition in the zilla panchayat Shankar Poojary promises to give importance to infrastructure

UDUPI: B.N. Shankar Poojary and Sharada Bijur of the Congress were elected President and Vice-President of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat here on Friday.

Mr. Poojary and Ms. Bijur defeated Kota Srinivas Poojary and Nayana Ganesh of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by one vote. Mr. Poojary and Ms. Bijur secured 13 votes each, while Mr. Kota Srinivas Poojary and Ms. Nayana Ganesh secured 12 votes each. Of the 25 seats in the Udupi Zilla Panchayat, the Congress has 13 seats and the BJP has 12 seats.

The post of the President was open to the general category, while that of the Vice-President was reserved for the Backward Classes "A" (woman) category.

The observer from the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, T.V. Maruti, told presspersons that according to an internal arrangement in the party, in the 20-month tenure, Mr. Poojary will hold the office of President for the first ten months, while Congress member Raju Poojary will take over for the next ten months. However, Ms. Bijur will hold the office of Vice-President for the full tenure of 20 months.

Mr. Poojary has been elected for a second time from Perdoor constituency. He served as president of the Udupi Taluk Panchayat from 1995 to 1997. He is an office-bearer of the Youth Congress and has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Udupi District Congress Committee.

Ms. Bijur represents Kambadakone constituency. She was earlier a member of the Trasi Gram Panchayat. She served as President of Byndoor Mahila Block Congress Committee, Trasi Women's Cooperative Milk Producers' Society and Trasi Women's Health Association. She also served as vice-president of the Byndoor Devadigara Sangha.

Addressing presspersons after his election, Mr. Poojary said that he will give priority to the development of basic infrastructure in the district. His administration will be transparent and a blueprint for the development of the district in phases will be prepared. Roads, rural development and provision of drinking water will be given priority.

Scam

With respect to the multi-crore-rupee zilla panchayat scam, he said the matter is in court and cannot comment on it. The cooperation of the State Government will be sought to get funds for the district, Mr. Poojary said.

District Congress Committee President M.A. Gafoor and the former Minister Vasanth Salian were present. Mr. Kota Srinivas Poojary, who has been chosen Leader of the Opposition, said the BJP will act as a constructive Opposition in the zilla panchayat. It will cooperate with implementation of developmental works, he added.

More In: KARNATAKA | NATIONAL