Saturday, February 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rajiv Bindal wins Solan seat
From Our Correspondent

SOLAN, Feb 25 — The BJP candidate, Mr Rajiv Bindal, defeated his nearest Congress rival, Ms Krishna Mohini, by a margin of 3,537 votes in the Solan Vidhan Sabha constituency by-elections, the results of which were announced here today.

According to the returning officer Mr Rakesh Dhiman, Mr Bindal polled 15040 votes while Ms Mohini secured 11505. The Independent candidate, Mr Netar Singh got 11,059 votes, 198 votes which represented less than 0.5 per cent of the total 37,804 votes cast, were rejected.

The counting of votes was completed in a total of seven rounds. The BJP candidate led by a slender lead of 210 votes after the completion of the fourth round, but established an unassailable lead of 3344 votes after the ballot boxes from this town’s booths were opened in the fifth and sixth rounds. Mr Bindal is the President of the local Municipal Council.

The Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Mr Parween Sharma, who acted as the BJP’s campaign manager here, while talking to local newspersons, expressed happiness at his party’s maiden electoral victory in the new millennium and hoped that it would become a trend setter in all future elections.

Mr Sharma ascribed Mr Bindal’s victory to the people’s endorsement of the policies and programmes of the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal-led state government. He said that this and previous byelections held after the establishment of the BJP-HVC government, had once for all established that people now voted for only those parties who were dedicated to their welfare and material prosperity and progress.

Mr Sharma said it would appear that the Indian National Congress had got itself into a state of inaction and their intentions and policies did not find support with the masses as of now. He thanked the people of this constituency for the BJP victory and ensuring peaceful elections.

The President of the District BJP, and Chairman of the State Marketing Board, Mr Virendra Kashyap, echoing the sentiments expressed by Mr Sharma, said that Mr Dhumal has emerged as the undisputed leader of the masses after the Solan byelection.

The newly elected MLA, Mr Rajiv Bindal, expressed his gratitude to Mr Dhumal “who gave me the opportunity to serve the people” and also to his supporters who put in dedicated efforts for ensuring his victory.

The HPCC General Secretary, Ms Asha Kumari, who was the first person to congratulate Mr Bindal, said the BJP victory did not reflect the opinion of the majority of the electorate. She said the Congress and the Independent candidate together secured 22,564 votes which was almost the double of those secured by the BJP. This showed that an overwhelming number of local people had cast ‘anti-government votes’.

Ms Asha Kumari said that the Congress had outmatched the BJP in the rural segment but her party’s victory bid was foiled by the Independent candidate, Mr Netar Singh’s cutting into the traditional Congress vote bank. She said Mr Netar Singh, though sponsored by the BJP rebels, did not seem to have won many traditional BJP votes but had certainly cornered more than 6,000 traditional Congress votes simply by playing the rural versus urban candidate card.

The Congress general secretary said that “the entry of Mr Netar Singh into the poll fray had confused the voters who very much wanted to defeat the BJP, but could not decide as to who amongst the Congress and the “Independent, a fellow ruralite”, deserved their votes best. Out of a total of 6,000 votes cast in the traditional Congress stronghold of Kuftu-Kanet, Sairi, Mamlig, Chausa, Paprol, and Srinagar panchayats, the Independent bagged 2907 votes as against Congress 1372 and BJP’s 1689.

She said the Congress could also not neutralise the massive lead in the city segment secured by the BJP candidate where he secured a lead of 3134 votes which was only 403 short of his final margin of victory.

Mr Bindal was given a tumultuous welcome by his supporters after he was escorted out of the Mini Secretariat, the Verne of the counting of votes. He, along with visiting BJP state-level leaders was later taken out in a procession through the main streets of the town with party men merrily dancing to the bhangra tunes poured forth by an accompanying brass band.


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