In what may be called a serious setback to the ruling Congress party in Karnataka, Congress rebel candidate K P Ashwini has emerged victorious in the by-election for Mysuru City Corporation Ward 58. The elections for the ward were held on July 10 and Ashwini bagged 1,248 votes.
The result is also a loss of face to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who had taken the election in his hometown as a prestige issue.
Ward 58 falls under Narasimharaja Constituency and comprises Raghavendra Nagar and the areas around Kendriya Vidyalaya. The constituency is represented by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait. The elections has been necessitated by the death of R Ananthu, Congress corporator.
The counting of votes began at 8 am on Wednesday and the results were out within 45 minutes. Ashwini was declared victorious by Zonal Commissioner of MCC’s Zone 2 T Javaregowda who was the returning officer.
In all, there were 10 candidates in the fray and JD (S) candidate B Manju secured 944 votes while Congress candidate G N Manjunath who is also a close confidant of Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait was pushed to third place with 924 votes. N Suresh of the BJP secured 37 votes.
It was a triangular fight between Congress candidate G N Manjunath, Congress rebel independent candidate KP Ashwini Ananthu and JD (S) candidate B Manju. There are 6126 voters and only 58 percent – 3594 – had cast their votes.
After Ananthu’s death, his wife Ashwini had approached the Congress leaders for a ticket in the by-elections but the Congress chose G N Manjunath. Upset with the development, Ashwini decided to contest as a rebel candidate.
Speaking to reporters, Ashwini said that the voters recognised the good work done by her husband. “Ananthu was a promising leader who had initiated a lot of developmental works in the constituency,” she said. On her next move on joining any political party, Ashwini said that she would consult her supporters and farmers leader K S Puttannaiah before taking a decision.
Ashwini’s supporters said that money power held no value in the constituency. “We have shown that money power does not have any value. The good work done by Ananthu has been recognised and we hope the same will be continued by Ashwini,” said one of her supporters.
The ward was earlier called Ward Number 57 and was represented by former mayor H N Srikantaiah. And when it was changed as Ward Number 59, Srikantaiah’s wife H M Shanthakumari won the elections and went on to be the deputy mayor.
The ward again changed to number 58 and R Ananthu contested and won as an Independent candidate. In 2013, he was elected as a Congress candidate.
The ward has sizable population of Muslims. Even though Ananthu was popular among masses as he initiated a lot of development works, Manjunath is close to Tanveer Sait and the Congress party claimed credit for development works. Ashwini banked on sympathy vote and used the popularity of her late husband to garner votes.