Senior Congress leader B. Janardhana Poojary registered a convincing win in the party’s primary for the Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency on Sunday.

An official announcement of his candidature for the Lok Sabha election is expected soon. Mr. Poojary has won and lost the seat four times each. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday announced the candidature of incumbent MP Nalin Kumar Kateel. Mr. Kateel had defeated Mr. Poojary in the 2009 election.

On Sunday, Mr. Poojary defeated the only other candidate in the fray, vice-president of the party’s State minority cell U. Kanachur Monu, by a margin of 416 votes. Of the 598 eligible voters, 547 Congress workers exercised their franchise, but seven votes were declared invalid. Of the 540 valid votes, Mr. Poojary bagged 478 and Mr. Monu got 62 votes.

The primary was a one-sided affair after the party rejected the candidature of Harsha Moily, son of Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily. Party workers who had gathered here for the polling said Mr. Harsha Moily could have given a tough fight to Mr. Poojary.

‘We are together’

After the announcement of the results, both Mr. Poojary and Mr. Monu proclaimed that they were together in defeating the “communal” BJP. At a party workers’ convention prior to the polling, both Mr. Poojary and Mr. Monu were given a chance to speak for 10 minutes each. Mr. Poojary asked the party workers to choose a candidate who could defeat “communal forces” represented by BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat and elect one who could speak up for the region in Parliament.

All-India Congress Committee general secretary Shantaram Naik said if the primaries proved successful, they could be extended to more constituencies in the future as they would bring power to party workers. Retuning Officer for the primary was Preniel Nair.

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