Nanjangud – The ruling Congress has won both Nanjangud and Gundlupet Assembly constituencies against its arch rival BJP in the by-elections. The counting of votes was held this morning at the JSS First Grade College on Ooty Road in Nanjangud and at St. John’s School in Gundlupet.
While Congress candidate Kalale Keshavamurthy defeated BJP candidate former Minister V. Sreenivasa Prasad by a margin of 21,334 votes in Nanjangud, Dr. Geetha Mahadevaprasad defeated BJP’s C.S. Niranjan Kumar by a margin of 10,877 votes.
While Kalale Keshavamurthy secured 86,212 votes, Sreenivasa Prasad got 64,878 votes. Geetha Mahadevaprasad secured 90,258 votes and BJP’s C.S. Niranjan Kumar got 79,381 votes. All candidates who had contested as independents both in Nanjangud and Gundlupet have lost their deposits. Interestingly, 1,665 Nanjangud voters opted for NOTA (None of the Above) and 1,596 voters opted for NOTA in Gundlupet.
Both Kalale Keshavamurthy and Geetha Mahadevaprasad were leading from the first round. They comfortably established their leads by the eighth round and the margins only increased in the subsequent rounds. While 16 rounds of counting were held in Gundlupet, 17 were held in Nanjangud.
The counting process began at 8 am after the strong room was opened at 7.45 am in the presence of officials, candidates and their agents. The strong room was taken into the custody of the Election Commission from the Central Industrial Security Force at 7 am.
Soon after the strong room was opened, officials carried the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMS) and Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units to the counting hall. In all, there were 14 tables to count the votes that had been stored in the 236 EVMs brought from various polling booths.
Each counting table had five officials including one counting officer, one counting supervisor, one micro-observer, one videographer and a support staff.
Apart from one videographer for each table, a general videographer was recording the entire proceedings. To ensure transparency, a live webcast of counting proceedings was aired to the Chief Election Commissioner’s office in New Delhi. With the facility, the EC could watch the process of counting from his office in Delhi.
At the counting room, round-wise details were displayed in the special screen that was set up for the purpose. A separate media room was established for the journalists to disseminate information. A TV and a result tabulation screen were set up at the media room. As each counting round progressed, the numbers were cross-checked before the round-results were announced. The overall supervision was by an election observer and the election officer, supported by two micro-observers.
Before the counting began, the counting centre was sanitised by the Police Anti-Sabotage Check (ASC) team. The entire premises was made electronic gadgets-free and a counter was opened for the poll-related officials to deposit their mobile phones
One counting agent per candidate was allowed near the counting table. While BJP candidate and former Minister V. Sreenivasa Prasad was at his Mysuru residence at Jayalakshmipuram, Congress candidate Kalale Keshavamurthy arrived at the counting centre at 7.30 am and was a witness to the counting proceedings.
The slips in the Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) will be preserved along with the EVMs and their control consoles for six months as a candidate can file an objection within this time.