Marathis gain upper hand

Marathi-speaking members were elected in a majority to the Belgaum City Corporation (BCC). A total of 33 Marathi-speaking, 19 Kannada and six Urdu candidates were elected to the civic body, which is at the centre of a Kannada-Marathi linguistic dispute.

Counting for the 56 wards among the 58 wards of the civic body was held on Monday in the premises of BK Model School. Among the two candidates elected unopposed earlier, both Marathi-speaking, one each is from pro-State and pro-Maharashtra groups.

All the 371 candidates in the fray for the BCC elections were Independents. Political parties had desisted from fielding candidates on party symbols in the interests of the State, to take on pro-Maharashtra outfits.

Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) leader Sambhaji Patil who returned to the pro-Maharashtra outfit fold made it to the BCC for the fifth consecutive time. Kannada-speaking member Shanta Uppar made it for the third consecutive time.

Former Mayor Manda Balekundri and former deputy mayor Renu Killekar, whose anti-State stand had led to the civic body being superceded, lost the elections.

Among other prominent losers were former mayor Prashanta Budavi, former deputy mayors Jyoti Bhavikatti and Dhanraj Gavali.

As many as 26 candidates of different factions of MES were elected. One of them was elected unopposed. As many as 19 Kannada-speaking candidates and six Urdu-speaking candidates were elected.

Among the seven Marathi-speaking candidates elected, six defeated those fielded by different factions of MES, while one was elected unopposed.

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