Jeevan Chinnappa

Madikeri: The Bharatiya Janata Party in Kodagu once again proved invincible after registering an emphatic victory over the Congress in the Legislative Council by-election from the local bodies. Mr. Medappa’s victory margin of 173 votes over B.G. Mittu Chengappa of the Congress is considered huge as there were only 1,340 valid votes cast in the election on October 31.

The win by Mr. Medappa has further paved the way for the consolidation of the BJP in the district.

Of the 1,396 voters from the zilla panchayat, three taluk panchayats and three town panchayats and the Madikeri City Municipal Council, apart from the MP, two MLAs and three MLCs, 1,385 have exercised their franchise.

Mr. Medappa polled 751 votes, followed by Mr. Chengappa with 578 and S.P. Mahadevappa, an independent, with 11 votes. As many as 45 votes were declared invalid.

Mr. Medappa bagged 56.04 per cent of the votes polled while Mr. Chengappa could muster 43.13 per cent votes.

The BJP candidates, K.G. Bopaiah from Virajpet and M.P. Appachu Ranjan from Madikeri, had won the recent Assembly elections from Kodagu.

The statements of the BJP leaders in Kodagu that there were no differences of opinion among the two MLAs and other cadres proved to be correct with the election of Mr. Medappa.

Mr. Medappa has only 15 months of the six-year term in office as Mr. Machaiah had served the early part of the term as an independent candidate before tendering resignation to contest as a Janata Dal (S) candidate from Virajpet constituency in the recent Assembly elections.

On the other hand, the differences of opinion existing in the Congress ranks did Mr. Chengappa in after the initial promise held out by the leaders in Kodagu that they were united in their bid to snatch victory.

The show of strength by the top Congress leaders in Somwarpet recently and the unsavoury incidents involving the ignominious exit of the former president of the Kodagu Zilla Panchayat and local leader, K.P. Chandrakala, from the meeting, were not considered a good augury for the Congress.

The tie-up of the Congress with the Janata Dal (S) in Kodagu also did not have much say in the election. . In all, the combined strength of the “secular forces” was not just enough to cause any flutter in the BJP camp that has taken deep roots in Kodagu.