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Siddaramaiah retains Chamundeswari in by-poll

Former Deputy Chief Minister and Congress (I) candidate Siddaramaiah has retained his Assembly seat from the Chamundeswari constituency.

In the by-election result announced on December 7, he defeated his nearest Janata Dal (S) rival Shivabasappa by a narrow margin of 257 votes.

After falling out with Janata Dal (S) leader and former Prime Minister H.D.Deve Gowda, on the ‘Ahinda’ issue, Siddaramaiah had quit the party and resigned for the Assembly seat. He joined the Congress to contest from that party.

In the counting of votes which took place at the Maharajani’s College in Mysore, Siddaramaiah secured 1,15,512 votes. Shivabasappa, a novice to election politics, stood close to him with 1,15,255 votes. Rest of the 12 candidates, including Janata Dal (U) candidate and former MLA A.S.Guruswamy and former Chief Minister Bangarappa’s Socialist Party candidate Karunakaran lost their deposits.

Soon after the result was declared, Siddaramaiah demanded the resignation of Chief Minister H.D.Kumaraswamy. “Both Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda must resign to their posts owning moral responsibility for their defeat. Both father and son had camped in Mysore for nearly 15 days and projected themselves as the party candidate after naming a weak candidate. Hence, they have no moral right to remain in office,” he said.

The former Deputy Chief Minister predicted that the ruling JD (S) would split soon. He paid tributes to the Election Commission for
conducting the polling in a peaceful and orderly manner.

“Both father and son had indulged in large-scale malpractices and distributed huge sums of money. liquor and gifts to the voters during the campaign and were caught in the process by the Election Commission,” the Congress leader said.

The fortunes of the two main contenders kept swining in favour of each other as the counting of votes locked in the electronic voting machines continued.

JD (S) took the initial lead by 43 votes in the very first round to be wiped it out and advance by Siddaramaiah in the very second round by 1,409-vote margin. But it was Shivabasappa who gained lead in the eighth round but lost it to his rival after six more rounds. Siddaramaiah held the lead for six more rounds from the 15th round, when Shivabasappa took a narrow lead by 22 votes in the 21st round.

Then on it was Siddaramaiah turn to lead from the 22nd round to better it in the next round by 3,983 margin. But, there were anxious moments for him when in the subsequent round his margin began to thin down. In the final 27th round, he emerged victorious by a wafer-thin margin of 22 votes.

It was a disappointing performance by JD (U) candidate Guruswamy, who had once defeated Siddaramaiah from the very same constituency. He cound not even muster four figures and polled only 941 votes. On the other hand, Bangarappa’s candidate Karunakaran performed put up a better show securing 3,304 votes. Surprisingly, Sarvothama, an Independent candidate, stood third with 4,183 votes.

The victory of Siddaramaiah is likely to have political repercussions, as it has given a big drubbing to Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda. Dissension is already brewing in the BJP.

The counting of votes took place amdist tight police security with para-military and mounted horses deployed to check the enthusiastic huge crowds.

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