Victors in elections clubbed under the amorphous category of “Independents and Others” often throw up interesting surprises and the results of 2013 Assembly elections in Karnataka also has its share of them.
For example, while one of the winners this time is a known farmers’ leader, K.S. Puttannaih, president of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and a senior leader of Sarvodaya Paksha, another is industrialist-turned politician of Kannada Makkala Paksha, Ashok Kheny, who has often incurred the wrath of farmers on the issue of land acquisition. The former has won from Melkote and the latter from Bidar Rural.
Mr. Puttannaiah garnered 80,041 votes, the highest by any KRRS candidate obtained since 1989. Both the BJP and the Congress forfeited deposits here. Mr. Kheny secured 47,763 votes.
C.P. Yogeshwar, who hoped to get a ticket from Congress from Channapatna and fought on a Samajwadi Party when denied, won with a comfortable majority from the same constituency against Anita Kumaraswamy, wife of JD(S) State chief and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.
These apart, as many as nine Independents have won this time, up by three from the 2008 elections. Interestingly, seven of them have won with comfortable margins of over 10,000 votes.
Leading the pack of big-margin winners is Haladi Srinivasa Shetty from Kundapur, (with 40,611 votes), who had earlier won from the same place on a BJP ticket and later broke away from the party. Many of the winners have margins of over 30,000, which is quite unprecedented. A similar pattern of big margins by Independents was seen last in the 1967 elections.
But unlike in 2008, when Independents played an important role because of the fractured verdict, MLAs elected as Independents this time will not play any role in the government formation.
While Varthur Prakash has won for the second time as an Independent from Kolar, Gulihatti D Shekhar, who won from Hosadurga last time, lost to Congress this time. Narendraswamy, D. Sudhakar and Shivaraj Tangadagi, who had won as Independents last time, contested on Congress ticket this time after joining the party few months before the elections and won.