He defeats Congress’ Chengappa by 173 votes
Madikeri: S.G. Medappa of the BJP won the by-election to the Legislative Council from the local bodies in Kodagu defeating B.G. Mittu Chengappa of the Congress by a margin of 173 votes here on Monday.
Mr. Medappa polled 751 votes while Mr. Chengappa got 578 votes after counting concluded at the Old Assembly Hall here. S.P. Mahadevappa, an independent, received just 11 votes, while 45 votes were declared invalid.
Mr. Medappa, who was locked in a straight contest with Mr. Chengappa, emerged victorious for the third time after losing the previous two elections from the local bodies in Kodagu in the past. Of the 1,396 votes, 1,385 had cast votes in the October 31 election.
“I will work to strengthen the panchayats in the district,” Mr. Medappa told presspersons immediately after winning the election.
“He was aware of the issues facing the district and he would join hands with the two BJP MLAs from Kodagu with a view to solving the problems, Mr. Medappa said.
It was a vote of the elected representatives from the local bodies to the progressive policies of the BJP Government in the State, he said.
Deputy Speaker K.G. Bopaiah, who was with him, said that the statements of Rural Development Minister Shobha Karandlaje on the taluk panchayats in the three-tier system had been misquoted in a section of the media.
Any changes to the present panchayat raj system would have to be brought in through an amendment to the Constitution.
Madikeri MLA, M.P. Appachu Ranjan, and president of the Kodagu BJP, M.P. Sunil Subramani, were with him.
Mr. Chengappa, who conceded defeat, stated that the BJP candidate had won because of a “BJP wave” that existed in the State.
He ruled out “internal politics” in the Congress for his defeat.
He said he had received Congress votes but did not know what went wrong with the Congress-Janata Dal(S) tie-up for the polls. He would work to rebuild the party from the grassroots in Kodagu, Mr. Chengappa said.
On his prospects to make a comeback after 15 months (the winner would serve only 15 months in office as the previous MLC, C.S. Arun Machaiah, had served the early part of the six-year term), Mr. Chengappa said he would wait for the High Command decision.
Mr. Machaiah had resigned from the Legislative Council to contest the recent Assembly elections from Virajpet taluk.
Jubilant BJP workers gathered outside the Old Assembly Hall raising slogans in favour of Mr. Medappa after the official announcement of his victory was made by the Returning Officer and Deputy Commissioner, M.K. Baladevakrishna.
Election Observer Mallikarjuna B. Dyaberi was present.
Supporters of the BJP burst crackers at the Fort. Mr. Medappa and other leaders were taken in an open jeep through the main streets of the city in a procession later.