Bellary (Karnataka), Sep 15 Election of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Lok Sabha member J. Shanta from Bellary constituency in Karnataka was found valid Saturday, as recounting of votes polled in the April 2009 election revealed she had won by the same margin of 2,243 votes.
"As the votes has been recounted as per the directive of the (Karnataka) High Court, details will be submitted to the court through the Election Commission and it will be up to the high court to declare the result," Bellary Deputy Commissioner and returning officer Amlan Aditya Biswas said here.
Declaration of Shanta as winner in the reserved (ST) parliamentary constituency was challenged in the high court by losing Congress candidate N.Y. Hanumanthappa's polling agent M. Chandre Gowda, alleging malpractices, irregularities in counting and tampering of a few electronic voting machines (EVMs) from some polling booths.
Setting aside Shanta's election June 11, Justice H. Billappa ordered the Election Commission to recount the votes polled during the election.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court August 17 upheld the high court order and directed the poll panel to recount the votes.
Though Biswas did not officially declare the result as he is bound to report to the high court, an Election Commission official, deputed to monitor the recounting, told reporters that the majority candidate (Shanta) had polled 4,02,213 votes and runner-up (Hanumanthappa) 3,99,970 votes, indicting a margin of 2,243 votes.
Interestingly, as during original counting, Hanumanthappa was leading till the 16th round of recounting but Shanta overtook him in the 17th and 18th rounds when votes polled in Bellary city and Bellary rural segments
Relieved at the outcome, Shanta told reporters later that her victory was validated as recounting of votes showed that she had polled more votes than her rival though the margin was narrow.
"I am grateful to the electorate for standing by me through this trial and having reposed faith in me to represent them in the Lok Sabha as a tribal woman from the Bellary reserved constituency," an elated Shanta said.
Shanta is the younger sister of B. R. Sriramulu, an independent lawmaker from the Bellary Rural assembly segment and a former BJP minister, who recently floated a regional party in his name - BRS.
Incidentally, this was the first time since the EVMs were introduced in the parliamentary elections that a high court had ordered recounting of votes.