ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Zilla Parishad Presidents in Karnataka-Their Social Background and Implications for Development

The paper reports on the newly emergent leadership structure of the zilla parishads by focusing on the social background of the adhyakshas (presidents). The caste composition of the local government leadership does not seem to have significantly changed. The two dominant landowning castes, the Iingayats and the vokkaligas, dominate as in the past, while the non-dominant backward castes have been able to maintain their strength, however insignificant compared to their shares in the state's population. When, however, the totality of the resources which generally make up the political capacity of an adhyaksha is considered, the hold of the major castes in the governance of the zilla parishads is likely to be enormous. In the absence of the Janata government's will and ability to break the stranglehold of 'semi-feudalism' in the countryside of Karnataka, the newly created powerful system of democratic decentralisation is unlikely to create substantial gains for the rural poor.
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