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COOPERATIVE LEADERS backed by the BJP swept all the 10 seats in the elections to the board of directors of Gondal agricultural produce market committee (APMC), results of which were announced on Thursday.

Polling to 10 seats of the farmers’ constituency in the board of director of Gondal APMC was conducted on Wednesday. Nominees of village-level farmers’ cooperative societies in Gondal taluka of Rajkot district vote to elect board of directors.

High turnout was reported as 582 of the registered 616 voters cast their votes at two booths set up on the yard of Gondal APMC. In the counting of votes, panel of candidates led by Gopal Shingala, the incumbent chairman of Gondal APMC won all the 10 seats. Eight candidates of the panel backed by the BJP polled more than 500 votes each while the remaining two polled more than 400 votes each.

However, Congress-backed panel led by Raju Sakhiya got a drugging in the election. Sakhiya himself could garner only 23 votes.
BJP-backed panel had already won four seats of trader’s constituency and two of the sale-purchase unions unopposed. With this, BJP-backed cooperative leaders have retained control over the largest APMC in the state for the fifth time in a row and strengthened their grip over the cooperative marketing board they had won for the first time 20 years ago.

With the victory on the 10 seats of farmers’ constituency, BJP-backed panel has clean swept all the 16 seats of the APMC for which election was conducted. In the 19-member board of directors of APMC, 16 will be cooperative leaders backed by the BJP. The state government nominates two members while one councillor of Gondal municipality is coopted as the 19th member.

Former minister Jayesh Radadiya, who is chairman of Rajkot District Cooperative Bank Limited, rode a bullet to lead a victory procession on the yard of Gondal APMC after the results were out.

Incidentally, cooperative leaders backed by the BJP had won 15 out of 16 seats of Rajkot APMC early this year and retained control over one of the largest control wholesale markets of the state. A few days ago, cooperative leaders associated with the BJP had won election to all the seats of Jetpur APMC unopposed as Jayesh Radadiya took a keen interest in both the elections to keep his grip on farmers’ cooperative bodies in the district intact.

APMC elections are not contested on symbols of registered political parties. Elections to boards of directors are indirect election as nominees of village-level cooperatives are eligible to vote. These cooperatives, in turn, depend on respective district cooperative banks for their credit needs.

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