With the hotly contested elections to the board of directors of the Belagavi District Central Cooperative (DCC) Bank over, the race for the chairmanship of the cooperative body is now on.
The 16-member board has 12 candidates backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and four owing allegiance to Congress leaders, like Satish Jarkiholi and Laxmi Hebbalkar.
Anjali Nimbalkar, who had entered the fray on the last date of filing nominations, lost to Aravind Patil, former MES MLA, in a close contest.
Mr. Satish Jarkiholi has accused the BJP of politicising the DCC Bank polls. “As per law, it should be a non-political election. That is how it is conducted in all districts. But the BJP completely politicised the DCC Bank polls in Belagavi,” he said on Saturday.
He also accused the BJP of engineering cross-voting to ensure the victory of its candidate in Khanapur. “The Congress will take an active role in the election of the chairman too,” he said.
Congress leaders say that unabashed politicking by the BJP led to Laxman Rao Chingale, former bank director and Congress leader, withdrawing from the contest.
D.T. Patil Karagaon, senior cooperative leader who regularly fielded his followers in the DCC Bank elections, refused to nominate his candidates.
The nonagenarian leader has been a board member in the past and has acted as an adviser to successive chairpersons of the bank.
Generally, it is assumed that incumbent chairman Ramesh Katti, former MP and brother of former Minister Umesh Katti, will continue in his position. He has been the chairman for over 20 years now, when different parties were in power in the State.
This was also the agreement between BJP leaders who participated in a meeting convened by State party president Nalin Kumar Kateel in Hubballi, party sources say.
The other point that they all agreed upon was to elect Laxman Savadi, Deputy Chief Minister, as the State representative to be sent to the apex bank in January.
An interesting factor is that though none of the five Jarkiholi brothers contested in the polls, they succeeded in getting nine of their supporters elected. These persons may act as a block despite the political affiliations of the brothers, sources said.
They may end up supporting Mr. Ramesh Katti if the Gokak brothers agree on that, said a bank director.