The dawn today brought with it cheers for the JD(S) as its candidate K T Srikantegowda declared the new MLC for South Graduates Constituency after the marathon counting of ballots overnight ending at around 4:30 am today. The counting process of the ballots commenced at 8 am on Monday and went on for about 21 hours, leaving the election officials exhausted.
Crackers started to burst around the JSS Arts, Commerce and Science College — the counting venue — as the Returning Officer A M Kunjappa announced the results. Exhaustion on the faces of party workers, who were at the counting centre overnight, waiting for the results, soon vanished. The party leaders
MLAs G T Devegowda, S R Mahesh and MP C S Puttaraju too joined the celebrations.
The win has certainly boosted the morale of the party which lost the Rajya Sabha polls. The JD(S) managed to salvage some pride by winning two out of four seats in graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies.
Srikantegowda secured 21,544 votes while his rival M V Ravishankar of BJP who was just behind him in all the rounds of counting secured 19,728 votes. To no one’s surprise, the Congress, this time too, continued its poor show and its candidate Dr H N Ravindra couldn’t reach the 10,000 mark as he walked away with only 9,323 votes. It may be mentioned that the Congress has never won the Graduates’ seat in the last three decades.
After the elimination of Ravishankar, the final votes of Srikantegowda were 23,619 while Ravishankar settled for 14,753.
Both JD(S) and BJP fought hard to reach the magic number 23,487 (total number of valid votes 52,800/2+1) to grab the MLC seat. While Srikantegowda led in all the five rounds of counting, BJP candidate Ravishankar came very close to him in the sixth round, trailing only by 308 votes. This brought supporters from both the parties on their toes as no one could expect what was in store.
However, none of the candidates initially had a majority (51 per cent) of first preference votes and the counting process went to the elimination round. The elimination round started with the candidates taking least votes and their second preference
votes were transferred to other candidates. At last, BJP candidate Ravishankar was eliminated, paving way for Srikantegowda’s victory.
This election also underlined the ineptitude of the educated class as indicated by 5,743 invalid votes. As many as 83 voters chose None of the Above (NOTA) option.
Barring writer Prof K S Bhagwan, who got 2,646 votes, none of the other independent candidates crossed the 1,000 mark. Former MLA Vatal Nagaraj secured 835 votes, followed by H N Machegowda 748.
Earlier in the last election held on June 30, 2010, the constituency had recorded 53.06 per cent voting, but it is 10 per cent less this time. G Madhusudhan had won the election in 2010 and the constituency was considered as the bastion of the BJP.
GRADUATE’S ELECTION IN 2004
K T Srikantegowda had emerged victorious against BJP candidate G Madhusudhan in the Legislative Council Election for South Graduate’s Constituency held in 2004. The counting process then too ended in an eliminator with none of the candidates reaching the prescribed quota.
However, Srikantegowda managed to surge ahead of Madhusudhan only after the elimination of the Congress candidate Venkatesh. This gave Srikantegowda 14,126 votes while Madhusudhan polled 13,483 votes.
As the winner should have polled one vote more than the prescribed quota, elimination round continued which saw the exit of Madhusudhan and the preferential votes transferred to Srikantegowda, leading to his win.