'I was confident of my win'

'I was confident of my win'

In the end, the margin of 59,665 votes was surprisingly big considering the two candidates were locked in a nail-biting contest for much of the initial rounds.

A jubilant Gowda said, “This is not my victory but a victory for the party workers, the State government and the BJP.” He added that Sharief’s loss was more a defeat of his former party Congress that had lost its bearing in the state. “This was not Sharief’s constituency as he had originally asked for Bangalore Central. I was confident of the victory from the beginning and the verdict is a further indictment of the mismanagement of the Congress in the state,” he said.

Neck and neck race

The first two rounds of counting saw the duo in a neck and neck race. Sharief even had a lead of 4,418 votes. Although Chandre Gowda led in seven out of the eight constituencies, he was being blanked by Sharief in the Pulekeshinagara constituency by 40,000 votes. Early on, BJP MLA from Hebbal, Katta Subramanya Naidu was edgy as Sharief was pulling in some impressive numbers in Hebbal. Eventually, Sharief even took a lead in the assembly constituency by a narrow margin of 567 votes.

But by the end of the sixth round, Chandre Gowda had begun to breath easy. The mood shift was apparent by the end of the 10th round, with Gowda happily obliging photographers with victory signs as Sharief retreated to the comforts of his home.
Gowda built massive leads in Malleswaram, Dasarahalli, and Yeshwanthpur that more than made up for his rout in Pulekeshinagar.

Sharief’s family harboured faint hopes but threw in the towel after the setback in K R Puram, where Gowda took a lead of 9,560 votes.

Finally, it came down to votes in a few pockets of Byatarayanapura. The Sharief camp eventually retreated when the lead became insurmountable.