M A I N   N E W S

Cong sweeps to power in Goa

Loses in UP, Kerala, Andhra, Karnataka

New Delhi, June 5
The Congress, which came under attack during the political turmoil in Goa three months ago, today stormed back to power in the state and swept all three byelections in Haryana but lost in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, where the Samajwadi Party opened its account, winning the Shimoga Lok Sabha constituency.

Winning three of the five byelections on its own and with its ally NCP bagging one seat, the Congress-led United Legislature Party raised its tally to 21 in a House of 39 in Goa which came under President’s rule in March after two controversial confidence votes that unseated the BJP and placed Congress in power. The BJP won the fifth seat and raised its tally to 17. It also has the support of the UGDP MLA.

The Samajwadi Party made its parliamentary debut from the South with former Chief Minister S Bangarappa winning the Shimoga Lok Sabha constituency which he had quit as a BJP member to join SP a few months ago. He defeated his nearest rival Ayanur Manjunath, a former foe who now contested on a Congress ticket, by a margin of 16,633 votes.

Elsewhere, the Congress ran out of luck. In the Chamrajpet Assembly constituency in Karnataka vacated by former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, the party lost to its coalition partner JD (S) when its candidate R.V. Devaraj was humbled by Jamir Ahmed Khan by 3278 votes.

In the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, in the Penukonda Assembly constituency opposition Telugu Desam’s P. Sunita defeated her nearest Congress rival B Sriramulu by 18,850 votes. Sunita cashed in on the sympathy wave generated by the killing of her husband Paritala Ravi, a TDP MLA, late last year in the faction-ridden Rayalaseema region of the state.

The ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala was dealt a severe blow when its candidates belonging to the Congress and CMP lost both the byelections to the CPM in Koothuparamba and Azhikode with record margins of defeat.

In retaining the two seats, the CPM-led LDF improved on its performance in the 2001 Assembly poll and bettered its lead in the last year’s Lok Sabha poll in the two segments.

In Uttar Pradesh, retaining its supremacy, the ruling Samajwadi Party-RLD combine swept all four seats to which byelections were held. The SP’s nominees won in Allahabad (West), Varanasi (North) and Haiser Bazar (Reserved) while ally RLD’s candidate won in Khairagarh.

The Congress Legislature Party will meet tomorrow in Panaji to elect its new leader amidst indications that the race for the chief minister would be among Pratapsinh Rane, Ravi Naik and Lusinho Faleiro. — PTI


Hooda wins by record margin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, today completed the formality of entering the Haryana Assembly as the Congress retained all three seats for which byelections were held on June 2.

The Congress candidates — Mr Hooda, Ms Kiran Choudhry and Ms Savitri Jindal — registered thumping victories from Kiloi, Tosham and Hisar seats, respectively, with each of them defeating the nearest rival by more than one lakh votes. “It is a historical verdict and shows the popular support for Mr Hooda’s three-month stint as the CM. Never before have so many Congress candidates won with much a big margin simultaneously,” a Congress spokesman said.

At Kiloi, Mr Hooda secured 1,06,698 votes, 96 per cent of the total votes polled, against the 3,063 votes polled by his nearest rival Azad Singh of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

Ms Kiran Choudhry put up a sterling performance at Tosham by bagging 99 per cent of the total 1,26,648 votes polled. She got 1,25,846 votes while her nearest rival Mangal Singh Khareta (Independent) got only 338 votes.

Ms Savitri Jindal got 96 per cent of the total 1,07,845 votes polled. She got 1,03,351 votes against 1,120 votes polled by the Independent candidate, Dr Rajinder Malik, who was her nearest rival. In the recent past, Mr Abhey Chautala of the INLD had won with the highest margin when he fought the byelection from the Rori constituency when the INLD was ruling the state with father Om Prakash Chautala as Chief Minister. He had defeated his nearest rival by 86,011 votes. The junior Chautala’s record, however, was found broken comfortably by all three Congress nominees following the counting of the votes today for Thursday’s byelections.

Among the three victorious Congress candidates, Ms Kiran Choudhry’s win stands out. However, one important point to be noted in this context is that both Ms Choudhry and Ms Jindal faced virtually no challenge as the main opposition party, the INLD, did not put up any candidate against them. At Kiloi, from where Mr Hooda was seeking election, there was a candidate from the INLD. Mr Azad Singh polled more than 3,000 votes, which turned out to be a reasonably good performance when compared to the votes polled by Congress nominees’ rivals at Tosham and Hisar constituencies.

Mr Hooda later issued a statement here expressing his gratitude to people of the three constituencies for reiterating their faith in the Congress. The Chief Minister said the victory of the Congress candidates showed that people were responding positively to the state government’s efforts to create an atmosphere which was not vitiated by corruption and fear.

The HPCC chief, Mr Bhajan Lal, working president and Haryana Transport Minister, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, and Bhiwani MP, Mr Kuldeep Bishnoi, also issued a joint statement welcoming the success of the Congress candidates in the byelections.

With the victory of Ms Kiran Choudhry and Ms Savitri Jindal, the number of women MLAs in the state has gone up to 13. Even before Ms Choudhry and Ms Jindal were elected, the present Assembly had the largest number of women legislators in the history of the state. 

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