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BJP’s Sajjanar wins council bypoll

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CELEBRATIONS: BJP’s Shivaraj Sajjanar and his supporters after the results were announced in Dharwad on Monday.
CELEBRATIONS: BJP’s Shivaraj Sajjanar and his supporters after the results were announced in Dharwad on Monday.

Staff Correspondent

He defeats Mane of the Congress by 655 votes

DHARWAD: The former MLA of Haveri and BJP candidate Shivaraj Sajjanar won the by-election to the Legislative Council from the local bodies by defeating his opponent Srinivas Mane of the Congress by a margin of 655 votes.

Of the 7,339 votes in the three districts of Haveri, Gadag and Dharwad, 7,296 voters exercised their franchise in the polling held on October 31.

Election Returning Officer and Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad Darpan Jain announced that Mr. Sajjanar had secured 3,812 votes and Mr. Mane 3,157 votes. The third candidate in the fray, C.S. Bhoomanagoudar (Independent), secured 72 votes, and 255 votes were declared as invalid.

Election Observer Manjunath Prasad was present.

Credit to BJP

Speaking to presspersons soon after the results were out, Mr. Sajjanar attributed the victory to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s style of functioning and said all the 17 BJP MLAs and party workers were responsible for his victory. He said his victory was also an indication of the good work he had done as an MLA.

He said the Congress had made every effort to thwart his victory by making false allegations against him and also by using “money power”. However, it had only resulted in decreasing the victory margin, he said.

Mr. Sajjanar said his priority as an elected representative of the local bodies was to make efforts to strengthen the local bodies, especially the taluk panchayats, members of which were upset because of less funds and lesser power.

Accepting the defeat, Mr. Mane said the voters had exercised their franchise in favour of the ruling party.

To a query, he said despite differences, the Congress leaders had unitedly fought the election. On the allegation by his opponent regarding the use of “money power”, he said his party hadn’t made use of it and he didn’t know whether his opponent’s party did it.

Although the counting process at the Karnatak College in Dharwad began at the scheduled time (8 a.m.), it was only after 10.30 a.m. that the actual counting of votes started. As many as 15 tables had been kept for counting and within an hour the result was clear. However, it was only after noon that the official announcement was made.

However, BJP activists began the celebrations even before the official announcement. A large number of BJP activists, who had gathered outside the counting centre, burst crackers, sprayed gulal to celebrate the victory of their leader.

While the BJP activists and supporters of Mr. Sajjanar were in a jubilant mood, the victory brought smiles on the faces of a few vendors also who sold colours and garlands at the venue to make some fast buck.

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