KARNATAKA

Polls to Tumkur CMC posts today

TUMKUR, DEC. 30. The election of the president and the vice-president of the Tumkur City Municipal Council is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

The posts are reserved for the general category, and every member of the CMC is entitled to contest.

The BJP has 11 members, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have seven members each, and the JD (United) has six members in the 35-member body.

There are four indenpendents.

Addressing presspersons who met him on Friday, Mr. S.P. Muddahanume Gowda, MLA and President, Tumkur District Congress Committee (TDCC), admitted that while the Congress received overwhelming support in municipal elections all over the State, it was relegated to the third place in Tumkur.

The Congress would probe the reasons for its debacle, and take corrective steps, he said, and added that the party had finalised its political strategy to take the control of the CMC. He refused to elaborate.

Mr. Gowda categorically said that the Congress would not join hands with the BJP, and that the latter's efforts to take control of the CMC would be in vain.

According to him, the BJP was a ``political untouchable'' for the Congress. He preferred to ignore the development at Koratagere Town Panchayat where the Congress came to power with the support of BJP members.

The TDCC, which was expected to confirm the candidature of Mr. B. Siddalinge Gowda for the post of President, has been unable to do so. It is said that Mr. T.P. Manjunath has emerged as another contender for the post.

The Congress, which won a big majority in the zilla panchayat election, imposed its candidates -- Ms. B.S. Dakshayini and Mr. H.M. Balaramaraj -- in the election to the posts of ZP President and Vice-President under pressure from the Lingayat and Vokkaliga leaders in the party. The other sections did not take any action though they openly opposed the decision, as the Congress had only recently come to power in the State.

These sections are said to be frustrated at the initiative taken by the leaders of the two dominant communities to field Mr. Siddalinge Gowda, a Vokkaliga. Mr. Manjunath, from the backward classes, is a senior member of the CMC in the party, and his good work in his constituency, especially the transformation of the government schools at Sriramanagar into the centres of excellence, has earned him public appreciation. He is often likened to Mr. K. Chandrashekar, whose candidate in the mayoral elections in Banglaore received the support of the Chief Minister, Mr. S.M. Krishna, due to his good work at Hanumanthanagar.

It is in this background that the weaker sections in the Congress want the party to field Mr. Manjunath, who is also said to have the capacity to garner votes from members of other parties, including the BJP. The TDCC is, however, unable to ward off pressure from the Lingayat and Vokkaliga leaders.

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