March 19, 2021 4:47:46 am
Despite winning as many seats as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress lost power in Vanthali taluka panchayat in Junagadh district as two its members abstained from voting in the election for posts of president and vice-president on Thursday. Nomination papers of its candidate for the post of president were rejected a day earlier.
In the general election to the Congress-ruled Vanthali taluka panchayat last month, both Congress and BJP had won eight seats each. For the subsequent election to posts of president and vice-president, Congress announced Mukta Chauhan and Pravin Garsaniya respectively on Wednesday, while the BJP nominated Lakshmi Maitar and Asmita Thummar respectively. However, during scrutiny, Chauhan’s nomination papers were rejected by Kalpana Padiya, incharge sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Vanthali who was presiding officer for the election.
“The post of president of Vanthali taluka panchayat is reserved for socially and educationally backward class (SECB) this time but Chauhan did not attach her caste certificate to prove her eligibility. We gave her time till the end of office hours on Wednesday but she failed to do it till 6.10 pm. Therefore, her candidature was rejected,” Padiya said.
Due to Chauhan’s disqualification, at the first general board meeting of Vanthali taluka panchayat convened on Thursday, BJP’s Maitar was elected president unopposed. The ruling party suffered another blow when Vajiben Bharai and Chauhan, Congress members representing Shapur-I and Shapur-II seats, didn’t attend the board meeting on Wednesday.
In the polling held subsequently for the post of vice-president, Thummar got eight votes while Garsaniya could manage only six and thus, the BJP won the post of vice-president also.
Natu Pokiya, president of Junagadh district unit of Congress, alleged, “We lost power because papers of our candidate were rejected in an unfair manner. Two of our members defecting to the BJP cost us dear. We shall take action against the two members.”
However, the SDM rejected the charge, saying she had gone by the book and had given the Congress nominee opportunity to submit required documents.
In the neighbouring Manavadar taluka panchayat, BJP retained its control with the help of an Independent. The BJP won eight seats out of 16, Congress seven and one went to the Independent. The Independent voted for BJP in the election for the posts of president and vice-presidents.
In Lilia taluka panchayat in Amreli, Congress retained power despite having won only eight out of 16 seats. The BJP too had won eight seats. In the election for the posts of president and vice-president conducted Wednesday, Congress and BJP candidates got eight votes each. “As per Section 63/7 of the Gujarat Panchayat Act, 1993 we conducted draw of lots to decide the winners, in which Congress candidates proved lucky,” said Ravindra Gohil, SDM of Savarkundla.
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