Congress wins byelection, retains Gandhinagar ward

The Congress has retained the Gandhinagar ward of the BBMP by winning the bypoll held on Sunday.

The counting of votes was held on Wednesday. The byelection was necessitated due to the murder of former Corporator S Nataraj. After starting with a lead of 530 votes, the only time that Gopal Krishna trailed was in the last and inconsequential fifth round.

By the end of the fourth round of counting, it was clear to the BJP supporters that their candidate had no chance and they left the  counting centre, while the Congress workers were rejoicing.

Gopal Krishna won the election by a margin of 1,546 votes over his closest rival, G Ramachandra of the BJP. While the Congress bagged 6,271 votes, the BJP candidate secured 4,725 votes.

The Congress was able to get only 53.23 per cent of the total votes counted on Wednesday.

Better performance
However, the margin of victory surpassed that of its win in the same ward during the 2010 Palike elections by over 1,000 votes.

Speaking on whether the low voter turnout had helped the Congress, Gandhinagar MLA Dinesh Gundurao said: “We have to analyse whether it was indeed a plus point. Had the 10,000 voters, whose names have been deleted from the voters’ list, exercised their franchise, we would have had a victory margin of 3,000 to 4,000 votes.”

Gundurao proved his mettle in the Congress bastion, against an aggressive campaigning strategy by the BJP. The ruling party in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike had roped in its Bangalore Central MP, P C Mohan and R Murugan - an accused in the murder of Nataraj - for canvassing.

BJP strategy flayed
He said Mohan, who was "operating" from the residence of Murugan, should have tried a better model of campaigning.

“It is a fitting reply to the disgraceful tactics of BJP,” Gundurao said, referring to the allegations of the ruling party buying votes by spending large sums of money.
Meanwhile, Gopal Krishna, the winner attributed the victory to his ‘Sahebru’ - Gundurao.

“The door-to-door campaigning was the clincher,” he said.

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