Major setback for Congress in Karnataka
R Guru Prasad
The Congress suffered a major setback as its first candidate, the former MP from Gulbarga, Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi, lost the biennial elections to the Legislative Council on June 11 due to cross voting. While Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi received only 15 votes in the first preferential votes, which is lowest among all contesting candidates, independent candidate Byrathi Suresh, a businessman and realtor, received the highest number of 23 votes. Interestingly, State Congress Chief G Parameshwara himself was among the 19 member Congress team, which was supposed to cast their vote to Saradagi.
Upset over the sudden development and unnecessarily losing a seat, Congress High Command is considering initiating stern action against many Congress leaders, who have given a jolt by indirectly and masterminded the failure of its own party candidate. The Congress has 71 members in the Lower House and missed the chance of getting all its candidates elected by garnering additional 5 votes either by seeking the support of independent MLA’s or additional votes of other parties.
Out of 12 candidates in the race for 11 Council seats, all the six candidates from BJP, three candidates from Congress, one candidate from Janata Dal (Secular) and one independent candidate backed by Janata Dal (Secular) won the elections.
Violating the whip issued by the respective parties, 12 BJP MLA’s, 6 Congress MLA’s and 1 JD(S) MlA involved in cross-voting and luckily all the BJP candidates managed to win.
Speaking to reporters soon after the results were declared, Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda said he is too worried about the cross voting taking place in the state like Karnataka and urged all the three major political parties to introspect the role of money and caste in the elections. “All six candidates from BJP won the election. I am happy. But we all have to take results seriously and discuss within the party what went wrong,” Shri Gowda said.