SDPI man elected gram panchayat president with BJP support

In the 24-member panchayat, 13 are backed by BJP, 10 by SDPI and one by Congress. The lone Congress-backed member and another SDPI-backed candidate were absent during polling.
SDPI man elected gram panchayat president with BJP support

MANGALURU: In a major embarrassment to the saffron party, T Ismail, an SDPI-backed candidate was elected president of Talapady gram panchayat at Ullal on the outskirts of Mangaluru on Thursday with the help of two BJP-backed members. BJP has suspended the two members for anti-party activities.

In the 24-member panchayat, 13 are backed by BJP, 10 by SDPI and one by Congress. The lone Congress-backed member and another SDPI-backed candidate were absent during polling.

Netizens and Congress leaders criticized BJP after the two members backed it and supported the SDPI-backed candidate.

However, Dakshina Kannada district BJP president Sudarshan Moodbidri denied supporting SDPI. Of the 13 BJP-backed members, Fayaz and Mohammad were aspirants for the president’s post. But the BJP selected Satyaraj as its candidate. The duo, who were upset by the BJP decision, voted for Ismail. Both SDPI and BJP bagged 11 votes each. The SDPI-backed candidate won by a toss, he said.

Meanwhile, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya tweeted that it was fake news. “Elections to panchayats don’t take place on party lines. BJP has not supported SDPI or any other party in these elections,” he tweeted.

SDPI clarified that it is not supporting BJP. “Since BJP has a clear majority, we sought the support of the lone Congress member, but he refused. The two members suspended by BJP voted for the SDPI-backed candidate,” a SDPI leader said.

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