He lost to his BJP rival by a margin of 52 votes
GULBARGA: The former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh suffered a shock defeat in the Jewargi Assembly segment in Gulbarga district. This is the first time in his over four decade-long political career that he has lost an election. Mr. Singh was defeated by Doddappagowda S. Patil Naribol, an agriculturist and a political greenhorn. Mr. Singh lost by a margin of 52 votes in a multi-cornered contest.
Congress leaders were downcast on hearing about the defeat of their leader. BJP workers, however, were jubilant and celebrated the victory of their candidate.
KPCC president M. Mallikarjun Kharge, a close friend of Mr. Singh, could not believe the result.
“It is not only a personal loss to me but also to the party and State. Mr. Singh had taken up many development works in the constituency and we were confident that he would win,” he said.
Mr. Singh began his political career winning the municipal elections as an Independent in the 1960s. He contested the Assembly elections and defeated two-time MP and educationist Mahadevappa Rampure in Jewargi Assembly constituency in 1972 and from then on he had never lost an election.
Mr. Naribol has achieved what his father could not in three successive elections from 1994. He defeated Mr. Singh in his electoral debut. Mr. Doddappagowda’s father Shivalingappa Patil Naribol first contested against Mr. Singh in the 1994 election as the Karnataka Congress Party candidate and lost by a margin of 4,053 votes. As a BJP candidate, he came close to defeating Mr. Singh in 1999 elections, but lost by a margin of 1961 votes, and in the 2004 elections, Mr. Singh won against him by a margin of 2,731 votes. A few months after the elections, Naribol died following a heart attack.
An elated Mr. Doddappagowda Naribol said he would dedicate his historic victory to his father.
“I will work for the welfare of the people of the constituency and bring it on a par with other developed constituencies,” he said.
Ecstatic supporters of the BJP defied the Election Commission ban and took out victory rallies in Gulbarga and Jewargi.
According to reports reaching here, while Naribol village celebrated the victory of its son, Nelogi village, the birthplace of Mr. Singh, was struggling to come to terms with the shock defeat of Mr. Singh.