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Nalin Kumar Kateel humbles Poojary

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Celebrating victory: Nalin Kumar Kateel being carried by party workers in Mangalore on Saturday.
Celebrating victory: Nalin Kumar Kateel being carried by party workers in Mangalore on Saturday.

Special Correspondent

The Congress veteran loses for fourth time

MANGALORE: Political greenhorn Nalin Kumar Kateel of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won the Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha seat.

He defeated Congress candidate B. Janardhana Poojary by a margin of 40,420 votes. He polled 4,99,385 votes as against 4,58,965 votes secured by Mr. Poojary.

Mr. Poojary, who represented the constituency in the Lok Sabha for four times from 1977 to 1991 and had served as Union Minister of State for Finance, had to bite the dust for the fourth time on his eighth appearance in parliamentary elections. The Congress has not been able to regain the constituency since 1991. In the run up to the election, the party functionaries believed that they had come closest to wresting it back this time. But the party proved to be no match to the hard work and planning of the BJP at the grassroots. The BJP had completed one round of campaigning even before the Congress could announce its candidate.

Though the BJP functionaries had predicted a narrow victory margin of about 15,000 votes for Mr. Kateel on the eve of counting, the margin of 40, 420 votes came as a surprise to them. Mr. Kateel got 49.16 per cent of the votes (10,15,498) polled, while Mr. Poojary had to satisfy with 45.18 per cent.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate B. Madhava secured 18,328 votes to emerge third. He bagged 1.8 per cent of the votes.

K. Rama Bhat, former RSS leader and BJP MLA, who was expected to split BJP votes, secured only 5,960 votes (0.59 per cent).

Independent candidate Subrahmanya Kumar Kuntikanmata (8,932 votes), and BSP candidate and one of the three crorepatis in the fray, Alekkadi Grish Rai (10,193), performed better than Mr. Bhat. Initially, it looked Mr. Poojary and Mr. Kateel were heading towards a close fight. When the officials counted the votes polled in 150 of the 1,518 booths, Mr. Kateel trailed by 1,000 votes. But he bounced back into the lead in a short while.When the counting was half way through, he was leading by 27,839 votes.

Two of the crorepatis U.P. Shivanand, editor of Suddi Bidugade, and Thirumala Raya Halemane, retired lecturer, secured 4,825 (0.47 per cent) and 1,801 (0.18 per cent) votes. Others in the fray were Anand Gatti (2,373 votes), Mohammed Sali (1,977), Vasudeva Gowda M.P. (3,180), all independents.

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