It has the constituency for the first time since 1978

The beleaguered Congress shocked the Bharatiya Janata Party in the biennial election to the Legislative Council from the Karnataka Northeast Teachers constituency on Tuesday. The Congress has won the constituency for the first time since 1978.

Congress candidate Sharanappa Mattur, a senior advocate in the Karnataka High Court, defeated three-time MLC Shashil G. Namoshi by a margin of 2,089 votes. Mr. Mattur was declared elected in the first round of counting after he crossed the 50 per cent plus one first preferential votes cast by teachers.

Of the 17,748 valid votes, Mr. Mattur secured 9,022 while Mr. Namoshi polled 6,933. Janata Dal (Secular) candidate M.B. Ambalagi finished third by polling 953 votes and Congress rebel candidate Lingaraj Biradar polled 766 votes. The other three Independents in the fray did not cross the double-digit figure.

While 32 people chose None of the Above option, as many as 1,403 votes were rejected.

The constituency is spread over Gulbarga, Bidar, Bellary, Raichur, Yadgir and Koppal districts and Harapanahalli taluk of Davangere district. In 1978, A.B. Maalakaraddy was elected from the constituency as the Janata Party candidate and the former Minister Vaijnath Patil of the same party got elected in 1984.

The BJP opened its account in the segment in 1990 with the victory of Basavaraj Patil Sedam. Mr. Namoshi retained the seat for the BJP in the next three elections — 1996, 2002 and 2008.

Mr. Namoshi resigning from the Council membership in 2009 and deciding to unsuccessfully contest in the byelection to the Assembly from the Gulbarga South constituency, and he quitting the BJP after being denied ticket in the 2013 Assembly elections and again unsuccessfully contesting in the Assembly polls from Gulbarga South as the JD(S) candidate appear to have done all the damage to his prospects in this election.

Mr. Mattur, who was given ticket at the insistence of the former Union Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, thanked senior leaders of the Congress, including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Mr. Kharge, for their support. He said he would stand up to the expectations of teachers and fulfil their aspirations as their representative in the Council.

Mr. Namoshi said he welcomed the decision of teachers in the constituency who wanted a change.

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