Cross-voting mars Council elections

Setback for Cong as BJP wins 6 seats

The Congress on Monday suffered a major setback in the Legislative Council elections with one of its candidates losing the poll battle following cross-voting by its five MLAs. 

Independent candidate Byrathy Suresh and JD(S) candidate Syed Mudeer Aga are being congratualed by legislators Nadagowda (left) and ZameerAhmedKhan (extremeright) after the Council poll results were declared on Monday. DH PHOTO

All six candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), one of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and an independent emerged victorious. The BJP, too, lived up to its image of an indisciplined party with a dozen of its MLAs cross voting.

Polls witnessed independent candidate Byrathy Suresh, a Bangalore-based businessman and a realtor, winning with the highest margin among the 11 candidates, while Congress’s official candidate Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi, former MP from Gulbarga, lost by four votes. 

It was difficult to identify the black sheep because of the secret ballot. Two “crorepathis,” Byrathy Suresh and M R Seetharam, won comfortably. 

 As many as 224 of the 225 members of the Assembly, who form the electoral college for the polls, exercised their franchise on Monday. Independent MLA B Sreeramulu, who is on a state-wide “padayatra,” was the sole legislator who did not vote. BJP legislator Nandish Reddy, who got a stay order on the High Court judgment annulling his assembly election, was allowed to vote.

Going by the pattern of the first preference votes, it is clear that a total of 19 MLAs cross-voted, consisting of 12 BJP legislators, five from the Congress (excluding one vote which the party claims was tendered invalid inadvertently) and one from the JD-S.  These legislators are guilty of violating the whips issued by their respective parties.

Suresh, who bagged 23 votes, seems to have emerged as “an all-party man.” He had made a vain bid to get Congress ticket. 

Officially, Suresh was allotted six surplus of the JD-S, and managed five votes by independents. A minimum of 19 votes are required for a candidate to win the elections. He managed to grab 12 votes from other parties. Suresh, like Congress leader Siddaramaiah, belongs to the Kuruba community. Siddaramaiah had threatened to quit as CLP leader allegeing that he was not consulted by the party before the selection of candidates.

It is clear that four Congress legislators violated the party whip leading to the defeat of Saradagi. Sources in the Congress said some MLAs instead of exercising their first preference votes as directed by the party, cast only their second preference votes.
The BJP managed to get all its six candidates elected, but had to face the embarrassment of cross-voting by 12 MLAs. After allotting the required 19 votes to its candidates, the BJP had eight surplus votes.

But, except for B J Puttaswamy, all the other candidates got fewer than the allotted votes. Only three candidates—D S Veeraiah, B J Puttaswamy and Somanna Bevinamarada—got through. It was only after the second preferential round of votes were transferred that the other three candidates—Vimala Gowda, Raghunath Rao Malkapure and M B Bhanuprakash— won. JD(S) candidate Mudeer Syed Aga was declared elected after the first round of counting by securing 19 votes.

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